BERLIN- Former local high school standout Ben Tate,
drafted by the Houston Texans in the second round of the NFL draft this spring,
had his first season in the league cut short last week when he severely injured
his ankle and leg during the team’s first preseason game last weekend.
Tate was injured in the third quarter of Saturday’s
pre-season game after busting a 12-yard gain. It was only his third carry of
the Texans’ pre-season opener against the Arizona Cardinals. He was listed as
the Texans’ third running back and was expected to make an immediate impact
this year for Houston.
The extent of Tate’s injury was not immediately known
after last Saturday’s pre-season opener against the Cardinals, only that it was
severe. On Monday, the Texans announced Tate’s injury would require surgery,
which landed the rookie on the team’s injured reserve list, essentially
shutting him down for the season. Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak said during a
press conference on Monday the loss was a significant setback for the team
“The surgery should be fine and he should be back playing
next year,” he said. “It’s a big blow because we were counting on him a great
deal. He’s a good-looking young player, but he’ll be back. He’s a good kid.”
Tate said via Twitter he is disappointed with the
season-ending injury, but plans on working hard to get back next year.
“It sucks to be hurt and not be out there with my
teammates working to make the playoffs, but what doesn’t kill you only makes
you stronger,” he said.
Kubiak said losing the young player with so much promise
in the pre-season opener was difficult, but agreed Tate would likely do what is
needed to come back better than ever next year.
“I just told him that I thought a lot of him,” he said. “I
know I’ve been hard on him, but I was hard on him because I knew he was going
to help this team a great deal. He will again. He’ll make it back.”
Tate set the Maryland single-season rushing record at
Decatur in his junior year with 2,886 yards in a season during which he also
rushed for 41 touchdowns and averaged 221 yards per game. He transferred to
Snow Hill in his senior year and rushed for 2,069 yards and 21 TDs. He finished
his high school career with a state record 5,920 rushing yards and 78
touchdowns and his 6,123 total combined yards for rushing and receiving are
also state records.
After being heavily recruited, Tate chose Auburn
University, where he finished fifth in all-time rushing yards with 3,321. After
an outstanding performance in the NFL combine, Tate’s stock improved and the
Texans took in the second round with the 58th pick overall.