Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff: 49 Days with David Tate

Chicago Bears
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Today marks exactly seven weeks until the 2023 NFL season gets underway at home against the Green Bay Packers, meaning that today we continue Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff by examining the life and career of the best player in franchise history to don the number 49, defensive back David Tate.

David Tate's path to the Chicago Bears

David Tate hails originally from Denver, Colorado, where he attended the nearby Mullen High School. In Tate's freshman season, the team won the 3A State Championship, their third consecutive title. Tate also played on the school's basketball team, but it became apparent early that Tate's best sport was football, where he was a dominant defensive back.

After four solid years at Mullen High, Tate agreed to attend the nearby Colorado Buffaloes, where he would serve on special teams and defense. As a freshman, Tate was able to see the field early as a kickoff returner. Tate was only able to return one kick throughout the season, but by the time he was a sophomore, the 6'1" cornerback earned playing time with the defense. There, Tate logged two interceptions in his first year with the defense and was able to play alongside defensive back Mickey Pruitt, who would eventually join Tate on the Chicago Bears.

In his junior and senior seasons, Tate logged two interceptions per year once again, doing so for three consecutive seasons. Tate finished his collegiate career with a total of six interceptions before entering his name into the 1988 NFL Draft. Tate was selected with the 210th pick during the eighth round by the Chicago Bears. He joined a draft class that included the likes of wide receiver Wendell Davis. The Bears signed Tate's college teammate Pruitt as an undrafted free agent.

David Tate spends half a decade with Chicago Bears

In his first season with the Chicago Bears, Tate served primarily as a backup defensive back. Tate logged time in all 16 games as a rookie and even made four starts throughout the year. Tate finished his rookie season with four interceptions and 45 total tackles. The team made the postseason following the year, with Tate appearing in both of the team's playoff games.

The following season, Tate had a similar campaign and appeared in 14 contests while making four starts. The Colorado product recorded only one interception during the season but upped his tackle total to 60. In his third year, Tate found playing time in all 16 contests but was only able to make one start during the year. He finished the 1990 season with 54 total tackles and zero interceptions.

In his fourth season with the team, Tate remained a high-level backup, and despite logging zero starts but playing in all 16 of the team's games, he was able to haul in two interceptions. Following the season, the Chicago Bears made an appearance during the NFC's Wildcard Weekend, but the team, unfortunately, lost after just one game, where Tate played but did not start.In 1992, Tate's final season with the team, the former Buffalo was able to start three games while playing in all 16 contests, but logged just one interception on the season.

David Tate leaves Chicago Bears and retirement from NFL

Following the year, Tate elected to sign with the New York Giants, where he remained for just one season. In the Big Apple, Tate recorded just one interception, and after the year, Tate decided to sign with the Indianapolis Colts, where he remained for four seasons.

As a Colt, Tate was able to find more playing time as a starter, and across four seasons, the former Bear totaled three interceptions, a sack, and over 180 total tackles in 50 games, where he logged 36 starts. Following his final season in the AFC, Tate retired from the NFL in 1998 after a decade-long NFL career.

His four-year stint with the Colts is only surpassed by his five years spent with the Bears. As a defensive back in Chicago, Tate logged seven interceptions, a forced fumble, and 238 total tackles. In Chicago Bears history, Tate is tied within the top 70 for total interceptions alongside the likes of Mike Singletary, Roquan Smith, and Danieal Manning.