ATHENS, Ga. — Lars Tate, part of Georgia’s longtime running back who went on to play three seasons in the NFL with Tampa Bay and Chicago, has died, the school announced Tuesday. He was 56.
Tate died late Monday in St. Petersburg, Florida, about a month after being diagnosed with throat cancer, his son Donavan Tate told the Athens Banner Herald.
Tate led the Bulldogs in rushing in 1986 and 1987 and finished his collegiate career with 3,107 yards — sixth most in school history. Herschel Walker and Nick Chubb From 1984 to 1987, he was the only Georgia back with more carries than Tate’s 615.
In the year He was a second-round pick of the Buccaneers in 1988 and led the team in rushing his first two seasons with 1,055 yards and 15 touchdowns in 19 starts.
But Tate was cut by the Bucs before the 1990 season, finishing his career by playing sparingly in three games for the Bears.
Donavan Tate said his father is scheduled to start chemotherapy this week.
“It was all of a sudden,” Tate told the Banner Herald. “Now they thought the next thing he was going to beat was cancer. Even in the conversations with him, he was in good spirits.”
Indianapolis native Lars Tate headed south to sign with Georgia after shrugging off an offer from Big Ten power Michigan.
When he arrived in Athens, the shadow of Walker’s illustrious career, which included the 1980 national championship and the 1982 Heisman Trophy, still loomed over the program.
But Tate proved a worthy successor to the school’s legacy of running backs, which has since grown to include Rodney Hampton, Terrell Davis, Garrison Hurst, Knowshon Moreno and more. D. Andre Swift.
His son was the No. 3 pick in the 2009 Major League Baseball draft by the San Diego Padres. But Donavan was plagued by injuries and never made it to the big leagues, briefly trying college football as the quarterback at Arizona.
In addition to Donavan, Lars Tate is survived by son Stefan, daughter Lauren and four grandchildren.