Earlier this week, news broke that the Detroit Lions were entertaining trade offers for their leading receiver, Golden Tate.
The surprising news was met by denial from most, with even Tate himself not buying into the narrative. Not long after the rumors began to swirl, Tate was indeed traded to the Philadelphia Eagles ahead of Tuesday's trade deadline.
Roughly 24 hours later, head coach Matt Patricia addressed the move.
Patricia started off by acknowledging the difficult nature of the situation while underscoring his relationship with Tate:
“Not an easy day yesterday when the trade deadline came," he said. "There are a lot of difficult decisions that are made in the NFL multiple times during the course of the year. Yesterday was one of them.
"From our process, we try to evaluate everything the best we can and try to make the best decision we can as we move forward, not only for our immediate but also our long term. Those decisions are not easy. It’s more than just players. It’s relationships, it’s friendships, it’s working together for a long time. I talked to Golden (Tate) at length yesterday, I talked to him last night. I really wanted to make sure that he was alright moving forward and I know he’s going to a good place with some people that are going to take care of him. He and his family are most important to me and that relationship will go a lot longer than football and last a lot longer than football from that standpoint.
Despite his respect for Tate and acknowledgement of how difficult the decision was, Patricia does not see this move as something that will stop the team from competing this year. this game is all about when we get to that point."
Despite his respect for Tate and acknowledgemednt of how difficult the decision was, Patricia does not see this move as something that will stop the team from competing this year.
“I think one of the great things about football and one of the reasons I love this game so much is that it is a team game. It’s about everybody, it’s about all the parts, not just one," he said. "And certainly, it’s about opportunity for everybody else, too. So, we’re just going to have to go in and do everything we can to just figure out what’s the next best way to win and what we have to do in those situations.
"That’s certainly what we’ll do and there’s really no other option. There isn’t really any other crazy conversation than we just have to go figure out a way to win, which is what we have to do every week. And certainly, teams play everybody different and there are different game-plans, and sometimes players are bigger factors in games than other games. And as a coach, you figure that out and you move on. The players understand that and we just try to do the best we can with it. For us, all that kind of goes into the factors, but it’s really nothing that we see that impedes us in any way.”
Patricia continued the mantra that it's about the team and not one player, potentially indicating that the return they got for Tate (a 3rd round pick) was too great to pass on for a player set to become a free agent this offseason.
“For us, again, it’s a holistic picture of taking a look at what’s the best thing for us to do as a team," he said. "In those situations, they’re not easy decisions. They’re certainly difficult decisions. But again, for us, it’s not about one player. It’s about the team. It’s about everybody.
"We have a lot of guys that are really good on this team that can produce and honestly, for me, we have confidence in everybody that’s on this team right now, that everybody can go out and do their job. And I think we’ve seen through the course of multiple different examples of years of the NFL where these things happen and people move on and they keep going and they keep winning.
"So, is it difficult to win in this League? 100 percent, it is. Every single week is hard. So, we’re just going to have to work harder and just keep going.”
Patricia also touched on addressing the locker room following the trade.
“We were very open and honest about the conversation, and I think the biggest point for me was to make sure everybody understands that this also shows a lot of confidence in the people that are in that room," he said. "There are great players in that room and there are a lot of them and there are a lot of guys that have an opportunity to make plays and go out there and play at a high level. We’re all good with that from that standpoint.
"The biggest thing for us, to be honest with you, is that we have to turn the page. We have to get ready to go. If we spend all of Wednesday talking about this, I’m just telling you, Minnesota is going to—they’re getting ready to kick the ball off at 1 o’clock on Sunday whether we’re there or not, and we better show up ready to go. So that’s, honestly for me—that’s why I said I would take a couple questions, but I really want to move on to Minnesota because they’re gearing up. (They’re) obviously coming out of a similar situation on Sunday night and they’re at home, so we have a big task in front of us. And we have a really good team that we have to get ready to play. So, that’s kind of where our focus is today. Wednesday is a critical day for us and we’re trying to start it right.”