Most of the time when Texans running back Ben Tate is asked about his contract, which expires after this season, he brushes off the suggestion that it might be fueling him this season.
But in a more candid conversation with Robert Klemko of MMQB.com, Tate admitted what's natural.
“I would be lying if I said the contract year wasn’t on my mind,” Tate told Klemko. “It was an opportunity I felt like I couldn’t let fall by the wayside. It definitely played a part in me dealing with the pain and playing through it. But also, I love the game of football. When you get to this level, you feel like it doesn’t last long, so you need to soak the moments up, and I felt like this was my moment to show what I could do.”
Klemko spent last Tuesday afternoon with Tate and accompanied him to an appointment with an acupuncturist, a treatment Tate has used to help deal with the pain of the broken ribs he's played with for the past seven weeks.
He did a nice job with this story in which Tate talks about losing his stepfather to a heart attack the week of the Texans' first Indianapolis game, why he's playing through the broken ribs and Arian Foster's cold attitude at first giving way to a friendship.
Tate also talked about how much it frustrated him to hear what former Texans coach Gary Kubiak said about his injuries last season. From the story:
“Tate just hasn’t come along,” Kubiak told reporters. “Everybody thought he could -- our trainers, our doctors -- but he hasn’t, so we’ll listen to him.”
Privately, Tate fumed. He had been working harder than ever, changing his diet and embracing all manners of rehabilitation. What was being reported as a hamstring injury was actually a hamstring tear, he says. He had been given a four to six week timetable for returning but missed only three weeks.
“For him to say that to the media,” Tate says, “that made me feel like, Why would I want to come back and play for someone that’s putting me down, when you know what I’m going through? For him to make it seem like I’m a lazy guy or not a tough guy, that was really unfair to me.
“I don’t know if we ever did get past that. We probably smoothed it out during this offseason. We sat down and talked. I told him pretty much those exact words. I think he realized, maybe it was just the heat and pressure of the season that got to him.”
Give it a read.