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Golden Tate interview: Jace Billingsley is ‘one of the hardest workers in the locker room’

We talked to Golden Tate about Call of Duty, his acting skills, Jace Billingsley, and why he’s so optimistic about the Lions going forward.

Pro football players Golden Tate and Joey Bosa play Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Sabotage DLC from Houston Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Activision

One of the great things about Super Bowl week is that it brings together players and analysts from around the NFL in one place to basically have one big party. Golden Tate is in Houston this week to be a part of it all.

Tate was able to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to talk on the phone with us about his love of Call of Duty, why he’s optimistic about the Detroit Lions’ future, his acting skills and our favorite young receiver, Jace Billingsley. Below is the transcript of our interview, but if you’d rather listen to the entire thing, you can listen below. Of course, if you subscribed to our PODcast, you could have already listened to it by now.

Jeremy Reisman: How are you doing today, Golden?

Golden Tate: I’m great, I just got done getting dominated in Call of Duty.

JR: Let’s talk about that for a second because we spoke with Eric Ebron a couple months back and he was just kind of getting you initiated with Playstation—you used to be an Xbox guy—How’d it go today? What are you doing there in Houston today?

GT: We’re trying out the new “Sabotage” maps that came out yesterday on Playstation and just kind of gaming, hanging out with Joey Bosa, rookie of the year—congrats on that—just playing around, testing out the maps. I really like them.

JR: So you’re a big Call of Duty guy, right?

GT: I’m a huge Call of Duty guy. It's what gets me through the season, you know, when my body's aching.

JR: We talked with Ebron, he was boasting about his own skills, he actually said that you were ‘a little rusty’ at the time, back in October. He called himself probably the best NFL player at Call of Duty. Is that still true?

GT: Ahhh, I wouldn’t say the best Call of Duty player. He’s definitely up there. He’s definitely a really good player, but I wouldn’t say the best.

JR: Where would you put yourself in comparison to Eric?

GT: I’ll give Eric the respect he deserves. He’s better than me. I’ll probably rank him at 20 and me at 21.

JR: I want to switch to another form of entertainment, because about a month ago you showed of your acting chops a little bit, when you did that re-enactment from the Jerry Maguire scene with your Rod Tidwell impression. How did that come about? Is acting something you’ve wanted to do?

What's life without fun... #Repost @nfl with "SHOW ME THE MONEY!" Well done, @showtimetate

A video posted by Golden Tate (@showtimetate) on

GT: I’ve always thought about it. Wouldn’t mind getting into that area, that space. It was the 20th anniversary of it. My agency just asked if I wanted to do it, and I was like “Yeah, sure.” Once I started looking into it, I ended up doing the entire scene, instead of just my favorite quote. I didn’t know it was going to be a big hit like it was, but it was fun. We had a lot of fun doing it.

JR: The 20th anniversary of “Any Given Sunday” is coming up in a couple of years, is there any chance we get to see you do a Willie Beamen impression?

GT: Maybe. Maybe. It could definitely be in the works. Yeah, we could probably do something like that.

JR: I watched your exit interview with the media, and I was struck by how optimistic you were, probably more optimistic than anyone in that room. That pulls a lot of weight from someone who has obviously won a Super Bowl ring before. What makes you so optimistic about the future of this team? What, specifically, have you seen either last year, or in the past couple years you’ve been in Detroit, that gives you the impression they’re on the right way?

GT: I came from a Super bowl organization. I know what it feels like to win. I know what’s important in order to win. I also spent a couple years in Detroit now. I’ve seen how things have evolved over the last few years. [phone breaking up] ...inside the organization, in the stadium, with personnel and [phone breaking up]... I think we’re well on our way. I’m excited about the future of this organization and I think everyone around us should be, as well.

Obviously, disappointed with how the season ended, but you can’t help but be excited to have a fresh start. Another offseason to get yourself ready, get your body as ready as much as you can and then go from there.

I think the main thing for us is staying healthy. I think late in the season we were kind of beat up on defense and offense. I think if we can stay healthy, I definitely like our chances.

JR: Is there anything that you can do to stay healthy like that, especially during the offseason, or is it just luck of the draw with injuries?

GT: I think it’s both. In the offseason you kind of build your body up the best you can by lifting weights and working out and and doing all the agility and cardio. You do all that just to beat your body up during the season. If you can kind of work at a high level in the offseason, it kind of helps you out later in the season. There are always going to be freak accidents. It’s a contact sports, so you can’t really predict the future, you’re going to give yourself a better chance if you come into camp in better shape and think like that.

JR: What about Jim Caldwell do you think puts this team on the right tack to potentially win a Super Bowl down the line?

GT: First of all, he’s been a part of multiple teams that have won a Super Bowl, which is obviously important. He knows what it’s like to be there. Also, his presence in the organization: Very soft-spoken guy, but when he talks, he’s a very powerful guy. The knowledge he has, as it relates to football and off the field things [phone breaking up]... All of the players and coaches and uses what is applicable in today’s society to connect with us. I love playing under him. He understands what it’s like to be a player because he’s been a player. He understands when guys’ bodies are beat up, you need to let off. A lot of coaches think there’s one way to coach, I think coach Caldwell does a great job at being creative.

JR: There has been a little buzz after the season about a particular guy that we didn’t get to see on the field in 2016, and that’s wide receiver Jace Billingsley. I was wondering if there was anything you in particular saw about him during practice or during the preseason to get a little more hype around that guy?

GT: Jace is one of my good friends on the team. Young guy who works extremely hard. He shows up to practice every single day, and pays a lot of attention. He’s prepared to come in at any given moment. What sticks out the most is his work ethic. He’s one of the hardest workers in the locker room. He shows up early, gets his job done, stays late, takes care of his body, comes back the next day ready to go.

JR: Have you given him any advice?

GT: Everyday I see him. [Phone breaking up]. As a young guy, I think of the things I did well or the things I struggled with, I’ll try to share. And the things I see in everyday practice with route running or catching or whatever it may be, I just try to share it. I can’t really tell you what exactly I share, it’s just at the time, if I have anything to say—when he comes out and he’s rested—I just talk to him. I just talk to him to understand why he does some of the things he does in his way. And I try to share why I think this might be a good alternative as well.

JR: Is that a role you enjoy taking as a veteran?

GT: Yeah, I believe everyone deserves an opportunity. I wouldn’t be leaving the game a better place when I left it if I didn’t share my knowledge and my experiences. The way I see it, the NFL is a big fraternity with a bunch of brothers, so there’s no room for selfishness, I believe. I want to see Jace and any other rookie guy, drafted or undrafted, I want to see all of these guys make a lot of money to take care of their families and achieve a lot of things on the field and off the field. So if I can share any knowledge, I’m going to hop all over that.

JR: What do you have planned for the next few months of the offseason?

GT: March 11, I’m getting married. And then just playing a lot of golf and starting to work out again, and get dialed in for next season.

JR: At what point do you make that transition back to “Alright, now I need to get back into football mode?”

GT: I’d probably say sometime in March is when I’ll really start dialing in. It’ll probably have to be after the wedding, obviously. There’s always something you can do, whether it’s Yoga or stretching or whatever it’s going to be.

We want to thank Golden Tate for the opportunity to speak with him again. We know he had an extremely busy schedule during Super Bowl week, so carving out 15 minutes to speak with us was extremely kind of him. If you want to watch Tate play Call of Duty with Joey Bosa, the video can be found below:

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