Lars Tate

Lars Tate
No. 34, 33
Position:Running Back
Personal information
Born:(1966-02-02)February 2, 1966
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
Died:August 2, 2022(2022-08-02) (aged 56)
St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school:North Central (Indianapolis, Indiana)
College:Georgia
NFL Draft:1988 / Round: 2 / Pick: 53
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Lars Jamel Tate (February 2, 1966 – August 2, 2022) was an American professional football player who was a running back for three seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears from 1988 to 1990, having earlier played college football for the Georgia Bulldogs.

Early life[edit]

Tate was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on February 2, 1966.[1] He attended North Central High School in his hometown,[1][2] and was named Gatorade National High School Offensive Player of the Year as a high school senior.[2] During his senior year in 1983, Tate rushed for 1,417 yards on 149 carries for a 9.5 average and 14 touchdowns, having rushed for 1,400 yards and scored 23 touchdowns the year before.[3] He then studied at the University of Georgia, playing for the Georgia Bulldogs and leading the team in rushing during the 1986 and 1987 seasons.[4] Tate was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second round (53rd overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft.[1] He signed a three-year contract with an option for a fourth year in mid-July that year.[5]

Professional career[edit]

Tate made his NFL debut with the Buccaneers on September 4, 1988, at the age of 22, rushing 30 yards in a 41–14 loss against the Philadelphia Eagles.[6] He subsequently had an 106-yard effort against the Detroit Lions in his eleventh game of the season.[6][7] Another memorable game during his rookie year came when he scored a 46-yard touchdown after being flipped at the line of scrimmage and landing on his feet.[2] During his first season, Tate led NFL rookie running backs in touchdowns (8), was the top rookie rusher in the National Football Conference (467 yards), and led the Buccaneers.[8] The following year, he played 15 games (14 starts) and finished eighth in the league in rushing touchdowns (8),[1] while again leading the franchise in rushing.[8] He was nonetheless released after training camp before the start of the 1990 season.[9]

Tate signed with the Chicago Bears in September 1990.[9] However, he was limited to just three games with the team,[1][10] due to a career-threatening neck injury that landed him on the injured reserve.[11] He consequently became a conditional free agent after the Bears allowed his contract to expire and placed him on their unprotected list.[12][13]

Personal life[edit]

After retiring from professional football, Tate returned to school and studied towards a degree in economics. He also went into landscaping with his brother.[14] He became sober three years before his death.[2]

Tate was in a domestic partnership with Kelli Edwards in the three years prior to his death.[2][4] He had three children: Stephan, Lauren, and Donavan.[2][4][10] Donavan was drafted in the first round (third overall) of the 2009 Major League Baseball draft by the San Diego Padres and played six years in the minor leagues before injuries derailed his career.[10][15] He then followed in his father's footsteps by briefly playing college football for the Arizona Wildcats as a quarterback.[2][16]

Tate died on August 1, 2022, at his home in St. Petersburg, Florida. He was 56, and had been diagnosed with throat cancer one month before his death.[2][4]

Statistics[edit]

Tate's stats with the Georgia Bulldogs
Rushing Receiving
YEAR ATT YDS AVG LNG TD NO. YDS AVG LNG TD
1984 114 421 3.7 49 3 3 4 1.3 9 0
1985 105 626 6.0 40 3 2 9 4.5 8 0
1986 188 954 5.1 39 16 22 214 9.7 52 1
1987 208 1,016 4.9 44 14 13 149 11.5 22 0
Totals 615 3,017 4.9 49 36 41 376 9.4 52 1
Source:[17]
Tate's stats in the NFL
Rushing Receiving
YEAR TEAM ATT YDS AVG LNG TD NO. YDS AVG LNG TD
1988 TAM 122 467 3.8 47 7 5 23 4.6 9 1
1989 TAM 167 589 3.5 48 8 11 75 6.8 19 1
1990 CHI 3 5 1.7 4 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
Totals 292 1,061 3.6 48 15 16 98 6.1 19 2
Source:[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Lars Tate Stats". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Towers, Chip (August 2, 2022). "Georgia Bulldogs mourn death of football great Lars Tate". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on August 3, 2022. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  3. ^ "GEORGIA BULLDOG FOOTBALL 1984". Sports Information Office – Georgia Athletic Dept. – The University of Georgia. 1984. p. 41. Archived from the original on January 18, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d Weiszer, Marc (August 2, 2022). "Lars Tate, among UGA football top all-time rushers, dies. 'He was a heck of a player'". Athens Banner-Herald. Archived from the original on August 3, 2022. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  5. ^ Kaufman, Michelle (July 16, 1988). "Bucs' second-round pick Lars Tate signs". St. Petersburg Times. p. 1C. ProQuest 262613332. Retrieved August 2, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  6. ^ a b "Lars Tate 1988 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  7. ^ "November 13, 1988 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. November 13, 1988. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  8. ^ a b Stroud, Rick (March 13, 1990). "Clearing the hurdle of high expectations? – Bucs' Lars Tate confident he can still make an impact". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on August 3, 2022. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  9. ^ a b Mitchell, Fred (September 27, 1990). "Bears sign Tate, just in case". Chicago Tribune. p. 3. ProQuest 282984078. Retrieved August 2, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  10. ^ a b c "Former Georgia star, NFL RB Lars Tate dies of cancer at 56". Associated Press. August 2, 2022. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  11. ^ Mitchell, Fred (January 18, 1991). "Plan B next Bear challenge". Chicago Tribune. p. 1. ProQuest 283006350. Retrieved August 3, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  12. ^ Mitchell, Fred (February 2, 1991). "Bears save unprotected Morrissey". Chicago Tribune. p. 1. ProQuest 283079719. Retrieved August 3, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  13. ^ Mitchell, Fred (March 31, 1991). "Now Bear fans can boo Packers' Tomczak". Chicago Tribune. p. 2. ProQuest 283057153. Retrieved August 3, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  14. ^ Schramm, Susan (April 25, 1997). "Ex-football player fighting back: North Central grad Lars Tate stable after shooting, but family needs help with bills". The Indianapolis Star. p. C2. ProQuest 240167405. Retrieved August 3, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  15. ^ "Donavan Tate Minor League Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  16. ^ "Donavan Tate – Football". Arizona Wildcats. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  17. ^ "Lars Tate College Stats". Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved August 2, 2022.