The Eagles have had trouble identifying receivers through the years, just as the Phillies have had difficulty finding a reliable centerfielder.
Golden Tate was tried as a receiver in 2018 when the Eagles, trying to prevent their Super Bowl window from slamming shut, sent a 2019 third-round pick to the Detroit Lions for him.
For whatever reason, Tate never quite fit. Perhaps it was the inability of Doug Pederson and his offensive coordinator at the time, Mike Groh, to figure it out or something more.
Now, if Tate continues to build on a hot start, the Phillies may want to give him a look in center.
The longtime NFL receiver, who has not yet announced his retirement with his 34th birthday on deck in August, is giving baseball a shot.
Earlier this week, he signed with a wooden bat league in the Pacific Northwest, playing for a team called the Port Angeles Lefties in the West Coast League.
Based in Washington, the Lefties are undefeated so far with Tate batting second and playing centerfield.
It’s a small sample size – only two games to be exact – but Tate has played a role in helping the Lefties capture wins of 5-2 and 5-4 over the Bend Elks.
In his debut, Tate roped a double down the right-field line in his first at-bat. He ended the night 2-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base. In his second game on Wednesday night, Tate clubbed another double, got hit by a pitch, and went 1-for-3 with another RBI.
He is batting .429 after two games.
Now, whether this is simply him having fun or is he seriously thinking about finding a path to the big leagues is unclear. A request from SI Fan Nation’s Eagles Today for an interview has been passed along to Tate, but he has yet to respond.
“I am extremely thankful to the West Coast League and the Port Angeles Lefties for allowing me to join their league,” Tate said in a statement via the league. “As a child, my first love was baseball, so I’m excited about the opportunity to compete against some of the best young players in the league.”
Tate played baseball for two seasons at Notre Dame, hitting .329 in 55 games during his sophomore season. He was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007 out of high school and the San Francisco Giants while playing college but declined to sign with both.
Instead, he played 11 seasons in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013.
Just eight of his 160 career games were played with the Eagles, but he made a memorable catch in that short time.
It came against the Chicago Bears in the wild-card round of the postseason.
The sixth-seeded Eagles beat the third-seeded Bears thanks in large part to Tate’s two-yard, fourth-and-goal touchdown catch with 56 seconds left.
The score gave the Eagles a 16-15 lead.
Tate’s heroics, however, often get glossed over because it was the double-doink game in which Chicago kicker Cody Parker’s game-winning field goal try from 43 yards was partially blocked by Treyvon Hester. The ball hit an upright, then the crossbar, and never went through.
Tate, though, had five catches for 46 yards in the win, including the pivotal TD.
The Eagles' hopes for a repeat died the following week during a 20-14 loss in New Orleans. Tate had just two catches for 18 yards in that loss.
In his eight-game, regular-season stint with the Eagles, Tate was targeted 44 times and had 30 catches for 278 yards and one touchdown.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.