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Skins sign a UFA

Skins signed safety Stephen Tate from Hofstra, an un-drafted kid.

Here's the info from the team:

Tate (5-11, 184) played both the safety and cornerback positions at Hofstra University. A four-year letterman, he totaled 123 tackles (66 solo) and two interceptions in 42 games with 12 starts. Tate was invited to participate on a try-out basis at Redskins mini-camp on May 2-4. He prepped at Centreville High School in Clifton, VA. Tate will wear jersey number 23.

By Jason La Canfora  |  May 19, 2008; 3:15 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Mysterious Uncapped Year
Next: Odell Thurman



Posted by: Josh, Ashburn | May 19, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Not first.

Posted by: Not a loser. | May 19, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully they'll be playin this song over the pa at games next year. check it.

Tabi Bonney - Beat Rock

Posted by: Josh, Ashburn | May 19, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

seems a bit small to be playing safety. Methinks our new crop of big receivers will demolish this guy....maybe he can punt as well.....

Posted by: dlhaze | May 19, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I only say this rocks cause this kid went to my high school.

congrats to him

Posted by: Go Skins Go | May 19, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

make him a corner.

good height and weight.

can he run?

Posted by: RedWizNat | May 19, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

F Centerville.

I remember we lost to them my junior year in HS 70-0.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like camp fodder....

Posted by: Redcoat | May 19, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Says here the fella also returns kicks ... but otherwise listed as free safety.

Posted by: dcsween | May 19, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

zip it slap nuts

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

From this stuff here, sounds like he would be a guy to fill the role of departed nickel safety Pierson Prioleau:

"Tate doesn't start for us, but he might be the best defensive back we have." Defensive Backs Coach Lyle Hemphill said. "He plays both Cornerback and Safety. We can line him up anywhere."

The only reason senior defensive back Stephen Tate does not start is because he plays both cornerback and safety Hemphill explained. "He actually plays more snaps then anyone else in the secondary. He is always in giving someone a blow."

It takes a special player with a high football IQ and dedication to play both of these positions not only in the same season but in the same game. Tate is a special player with the dedication to make playing both positions work. On the team's off day in the recreation center training.

"I am in the gym because I want to get better." Tate said. "There is never a day off. Football is 365 days a year. When you sleep someone else is working, you have to get it in anyway."

Not only does Tate spend his off day in the gym he also spends more of his free time watching film. "He puts a lot of time in." Hemphill said. "He leaves here every Sunday with two tapes and I know he is sitting in his room watching film. I know because I ask him questions and he knows the answers."

Posted by: dcsween | May 19, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

good write up on this cat...lets see how he does on the field.

RC, talk to me about the G that you guys just let go...

Posted by: Greg | May 19, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"He is always in giving someone a blow."

He might fit in well with some of you flamin' bloggers, but I doubt he would fit in well with the locker room.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

No brainer. As we know, "NOBODY HAS WHAT TATE HAS!"

Posted by: Mike H. | May 19, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Centreville. Now sign Marcus Hamilton.

Posted by: Dntheman1 | May 19, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Little man Tate

Posted by: Stumped | May 19, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Gary Clark -- from the last blog entry -- you are not chopped liver. In fact, I've never quite figured out why you are getting serious face time with the HOF committee.

Because ...
Your average Super Bowl (yards per game and TDs per game) were better than Lynn Swann or Michael Irvin. And lets face it, the Super Bowl is the ONLY reason Swann is in.

Because you retired in 8th place on the all-time list for receiving yards ... playing in fewer games than any guy ahead of you on that list.

And the 7 guys ahead of you in career receiving yards -- 6 are in the Hall or on the way (Lofton, Largent, Maynard, Joiner, Monk, Rice).

Because you nailed Pro Bowls and got ripped off a fifth -- and barely lost rookie of the year to that guy Rice.

Because your 7 best seasons are better than Andre Reed's 7 best seasons (when Reed made the Pro Bowl every time). And those seasons are why Reed is in the discussion.

In those 7 seasons, the ONLY WR with better numbers than you, was Rice.

Because your QBs were not that great and the pass rushers they faced were LT, Reggie White and Randy White -- 2x per year, each.

Because all those voters who dissed Monk for so many years kept saying you were the 'more dangerous' receiver.

Because if you add in your (below average) USFL season (and it is the Pro Football HOF, not the NFL hall), your your numbers are identical to Irvin's (you had a couple more catches, a couple more TDs and about 200 fewer yards).

So Gary Clark, you are not chopped liver. But why did you ever go to Arizona?

Posted by: AL, Zeke, etc | May 19, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

This guy sounds supersmart ... maybe if he doesn't catch on with the roster, he might be ready for the coaching ranks:

"I watch a lot of film." Tate said about his intense preparation. "My approach is I attack film, getting to know your opponent. You're reading a guy all game. A certain tip will get you an interception. You have to know what they are going to do."

Even Tate pointed out the intricate differences of safety and cornerback in his film study. "Safety you have to see things in a broader perspective. That is safety mentality. See things on a broad concept." Tate said. "Corner you are reading tendencies and demeanor. Does he take plays off, is he aggressive is he passive."

Along with film Tate placed a heavy emphasis on the sometimes overlooked facet of conditioning. "You cannot get tired out there." Tate said. "Football is all about conditioning. Gotta be in shape to play this game, the great ones are. If you are tired you are sloppy. If you are in shape everything else just falls into place."

Tate also explained that he has no preference in his position in the secondary. "I like corner. I like being out on an island. It is a challenge I like accepting challenges." Tate said. "Safety, I like being involved. I get involved in the run game."

Tate has taken to his new roll as a corner though this season. "You have the opportunity to take someone out of the game." Tate said. "I enjoy shutting people down and telling them they can not do anything."

Tate also explains the nature of playing Cornerback. "It is a very competitive position." Tate said. "You have to be on your P's and Q's you can be humbled just like that; you can't sleep. It is the only position where you can make ten tackles, an interception, or everything else and let up one touchdown that changes the game and it is a terrible game."

Tate's dedication and his football intelligence allow him to play at high level at both the safety and cornerback position. "He has a very good understanding of the game of football." Hemphill said. "He hasn't complained once. He just wants to win."

"I don't really mind." Tate said. "I am playing football and I am healthy."

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Just kidding. Is this part of the new plan????

Posted by: Alex35332 | May 19, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a FB player:

Stephen Tate makes most of mini-camp invitation

When a player goes into an NFL mini-camp as an unsigned rookie free agent, everything is about performance. The only reason you are there is to prove that you deserve a spot on an NFL team and an opportunity to play professional football. There is nothing but pressure and no room to relax like the first round draft picks across the league. Unsigned rookies are looking for a roster spot not hoping to impact the team immediately. Stephen Tate went into the Washington Redskins mini-camp as an unsigned free agent looking to prove that he can perform and gain an NFL contract for preseason camp.

"To be honest with you, like, I wasn't worked up." Tate said. "I wasn't nervous, I wasn't afraid. I didn't have any anxiety. I have been playing football my whole life, so I just went out there and did my thing. I was just playing football. I was calm and relaxed."

Playing football and making the most of his opportunity were exactly what Tate did in the first practice of mini-camp. When Tate got an opportunity in coverage to make a play on the ball he did. Intercepting a ball intended for tight end Chris Cooley and returning it down the sideline for a touchdown.

Tate described the play in detail. Saying that Cooley had broken on an out right that he described as a very nice route and the ball was thrown slightly behind the receiver. "I was not even thinking about it." Tate said. "I was just like make this play. It was all reaction."

After intercepting what Tate described as a low ball, he was able to turn his hips up-field and race down the sideline to the endzone. Throughout mini-camp Tate continued to make plays on the field but was still unsure of his performance.

"I couldn't tell to be honest." Tate said. "I felt like I was going to be cut the whole time because I made a mistake and the coach was yelling at me."

Tate made a mistake in coverage and then looked at the coach and began a conversation about he thought he made the mistake. "What I said to him was, like, coach I keep making these mistakes cause I am not getting enough reps." Tate said. "That is the dumbest thing you can ever tell an NFL coach as an undrafted rookie free agent who doesn't have a contract. I am like 'Oh no.'"
According to Tate, the Coach responded by asking a veteran player how many reps a backup defensive back would receive during the season. The answer: none, or slim to none.

So in order to avoid these types of mistakes again Tate used all the spare time he could find during the busy mini-camp schedule to study his playbook.

Tate would wake up before seven in the morning, eat breakfast, and report to the teams first meeting and install period. He would then proceed to the practice field and then have a short break for lunch. After lunch Tate was back in the meeting room for another install period and then another practice.

When Tate would finally make it back to his room between 6:30 and 7:00 at night, he spent the rest of the time studying his playbook. Tate said that he would spend the rest of his evening studying the playbook and the plays in order to understand the defense and the calls.

"They expect you to know these dang gone calls as soon as you go through it in the meetings." Tate said. "No playing around its your job. You have to know these things."

At the conclusion of mini-camp Tate was still unsure of his situation with the team and if he would be offered a contract for training camp. He left mini-camp and headed back to Hofstra wondering about his performance.

"It was in God's hands." Tate said. "It was on ice man. You are sitting on ice you are on edge you are antsy. Did I do enough you are thinking about plays that happen. You are like if I would have made that play maybe that would have been the ticket or I should have made that step. There is a lot of thinking a lot of analytical thinking about my game."

Posted by: Curzon417 | May 19, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Now I finally know why Dan Snyder and the marketing department came up with those dreadful pink jerseys and hats. It was for the Redskin Insider bloggers!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Shame on me... my first thought when I saw this guys's name and vitals was "another white safety?"

Maybe it was all the references to how "smart" he is... seems like that's sometimes used as a code word...

Again, for shame. For shame.

-Nate in the PDX

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

no, we all actually voted on lavender as the official color of the blog, but little Danny overrode us...

Posted by: John D in Houston | May 19, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

This is weird, I thought Hofstra's mascot was a flying Dutchman or something like that. But it's "The Pride," which lends itself to this leonine tie-in.

As I've always said, whatever gets you through the pep rally, dude...

-Nate in the PDX

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

And check out the positively Dorfian motto of Hofstra U:

Je maintiendray
Archaic French, meaning "I stand steadfast" (I shall maintain, the motto of William the Silent)

William the Silent? Never heard of him!

-Nate in the PDX

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Once went to a lacrosse game at Hofstra. Saw the goalie run 70 yards downfield, then lose the ball. You could see it on his face as he was being hit and the ball was coming out. That look of OH NO! Easy score

Posted by: AL, Zeke, etc | May 19, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

William the Silent won big on Jeopardy ... or was it Name that Tune?

Posted by: AL, Zeke, etc | May 19, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

RC, talk to me about the G that you guys just let go...

Posted by: Greg | May 19, 2008 4:06 PM

Your near namesake Mormino Greg? He's okay if fit, but he got injured and wasn't able to pass his physical this year.

We've upgraded with McKinney from the Texans who is a better player at both Center and Guard.

Posted by: Redcoat | May 19, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I just scanned the wikipedia entry on William the Silent ... and found nothing even jibba jabba worthy, much less interesting. The silent stuff supposedly had to do with his reluctance to talk candidly about important stuff ... might as well have been on the roster for the Patriots.

Posted by: dcsween | May 19, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse


Mormino....kinda catchy....

Posted by: Greg | May 19, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe that you guys found all this info on Steven Tate. Wow. Hopefully a year or two on the practice squad we might have found a diamond in the rough.

Posted by: marlonjohn | May 19, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

can anyone here explain the waiver process to me?

ive done a search on msn but can only find info on the waiver process in baseball and fantasy football. i've heard the term million times but never gave it a second thought until i saw a PFT article a few minutes ago discussing how all 32 nfl teams will have a shot at thurman via the waiver process.

Posted by: talkshowhost | May 19, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse



Section 1. Release:

(a) Whenever a player who has finished the season in which his fourth year of credited service has been earned under the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan is placed on waivers between February 1 and the trading deadline, his contract will be considered terminated and the player will be completely free at any time thereafter to negotiate and sign a Player Contract with any Club, and any Club shall be completely free to negotiate and sign a Player Contract with such player, without penalty or restriction, including, but not limited to, Draft Choice Compensation between Clubs or First Refusal Rights of any kind, or any signing period. If the waivers occur after that time, the player’s Player Contract will be subject to the waiver system and may be awarded to a claiming Club. However, if such player is claimed and awarded, he shall have the option to declare himself an Unrestricted Free Agent at the end of the League Year in question if he has a no-trade clause in his Player Contract. If such player does not have a no-trade clause and the Player Contract being awarded through waivers covers more than one additional season, the player shall have the right to declare himself an Unrestricted Free Agent as set forth above at the end of the League Year following the League Year in which he is waived and awarded.

(b) Whenever a player who has finished less than the season in which his fourth year of credited service has been earned under the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan is placed on waivers, the player’s Player Contract will be subject to the waiver system and may be awarded to a claiming Club.

Section 2. Contact: Coaches or any other persons connected with another NFL Club are prohibited from contacting any player placed on waivers until such time as the player is released by the waiving Club.

Section 3. Ineligibility: Any NFL player who is declared ineligible to compete in a pre-season, regular season or post-season game because of a breach by any NFL Club by whom he is employed of waiver procedures and regulations, or any other provision of the NFL Constitution and Bylaws, will be paid the salary or other compensation which he would have received if he had not been declared ineligible, which, in any event, will be a minimum of one week’s salary and, when applicable, expense payments.

Section 4. Notice of Termination: The Notice of Termination form attached hereto as Appendix G will be used by all Clubs. If possible, the Notice of Termination will be personally delivered to the player prior to his departure from the team. If the Notice of Termination has not been personally delivered to the player prior to his departure from the team, the Notice of Termination will be sent to him by certified mail at his last address on file with the Club.

***Waiver system: The procedure by which a player's contract or NFL rights are made available by his current team to other teams in the league. During the procedure, the 31 other teams either file a claim to obtain the player or waive the opportunity to do so, thus the term waiver. The claiming period is typically ten days during the off-season, but from early July through December, it lasts only 24 hours. If a player is claimed by two or more teams in this period, priority is based on the inverse won-lost standing of the teams. The team with the worst record has priority. If no team selects the player, he's free to sign with any team, including his previous employer. If no one signs him, he is unemployed — technically fired from the NFL.

Posted by: Stumped | May 19, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

The waiver process is like a redo of the draft for players with less than a certain number of seasons experience, i.e., worst to best teams get a chance to claim "dibs" on the guy. The waiver order is the actual draft order (i.e., none of the first rounds slot trades and NE gets a chance to call dibs before NYG does).

Posted by: dcsween | May 19, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse


Each team, based on their records, get a chance to claim a player off waivers. If claimed off waivers, it is at their current contract. If a player clears waivers (all teams pass), he becomes a UFA and can sign a contract with any team for any amount.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

thanks for the info guys!

Posted by: talkshowhost | May 19, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Favorite line from last night's "Simpsons" ...

Marge: Homer, I want to you be sober for Lisa's recital tonight.

Homer: American sober or Irish sober?

... and with that my hamster friends, I'm out to do the thing dcsweens do best on a Monday night ... even when there's no actual football to be watched.

Posted by: dcsween | May 19, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

beeb peeps

Posted by: Curzon417 | May 19, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

TATE: Rated number 107 out of 136 FS's

Kid'll be bagging groceries by opening day. But, with his Hofstra education, all his film study, conditioning and prep, he'll be bagging them very well.

Posted by: CORKCZAR | May 19, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Great point, Corky.

Nobody outbags Steve Tate.

-Nate in the PDX

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Is he Stephen as in "Steven"
Or Stephen as in "Ste-fan" as in Heyer.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Too bad he's not ...."Terry Tate the Office Line Backer!"

Posted by: jarresc | May 20, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Too bad he's not ...."Terry Tate the Office Line Backer!"

Posted by: jarresc | May 20, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

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