Former Georgia star, NFL RB Lars Tate dies of cancer at age 56

ATHENS, Go. (AP) — Lars Tate, part of a long line of Georgia that backs down to greats who moved on to…

ATHENS, Go. (AP) – Lars Tate, part of a long line of Georgia running back to greats who played three seasons in the NFL with Tampa Bay and Chicago, has passed away, 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 Benner-Herald.

Tate led the Bulldogs in the rush in 1986 and ’87, finishing his college career with 3,107 yards — the sixth most in school history. Herschel Walker and Nick Chubb were the only Georgia backs to have more carries than Tate’s 615 from 1984-87.

He was a second round pick of the Buccaneers in 1988 and led the team in rushing his first two seasons, totaling 1,055 yards and 15 touchdowns with 19 starts.

But Tate was cut by the Bucs prior to the 1990 season, finishing his career by playing sparingly in three games for the Bears.

Donavan Tate said his father would start chemotherapy this week.

“It was quite sudden,” Tate told the Banner-Herald. “You just thought cancer was the next thing he’d overcome. Even in conversations with him, he was in a good mood.”

Indianapolis native, Tate headed south to sign with Georgia after also considering an offer from Big Ten powerhouse Michigan.

When he arrived in Athens, the shadows of Walker’s glittering career – including a national championship in 1980 and the Heisman Trophy in 1982 – still loomed over the schedule.

But Tate proved to be a worthy successor to the school’s running back legacy, which has since grown to include Rodney Hampton, Terrell Davis, Garrison Hearst, Knowshon Moreno, and D’Andre Swift.

His son was the third overall pick in the 2009 Major League Baseball draw by the San Diego Padres. But Donavan was plagued with injuries and never made it to the major leagues.

In addition to Donavan, Lars Tate leaves behind son Stephan, daughter Lauren and four grandchildren.


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