A key waiver pickup from New England just before start of 2011 regular season, Tate saw action in ’12 at WR, punt returner and kickoff returner, after playing in 2011 primarily as return specialist ... Had a 44-yard TD catch ... Has qualified as team’s all-time leader in average yards per punt return (10.1) ... Earned an AFC Special Teams Player of the Week award in ’11 ... Set franchise record in ’11 for combined kickoff and punt returns in a season (93), as well as for total punt return yards (543) and most punt returns (51) ... Returned two kickoffs for TDs for New England in ’10.
CAREER TRANSACTIONS: Selected by New England in third round of 2009 NFL Draft (83rd overall) ... Signed with Patriots on 7-23-09 ... Waived by New England on 9-3-12, and acquired by Bengals on waivers on 9-4-12.
2012 GENERAL: Played in Games 1-16, logging 13 catches for 211 yards and one TD ... Also played in Wild Card playoff ... His 16.2-yard per-catch average led the team ... Averaged 8.9 yards on 21 punt returns and 24.8 yards on 32 kickoff returns ... Closed season with Bengals career average of 10.1 yards on punt returns, just ahead of Quan Cosby (10.0) for club record.
2012 GAME-BY-GAME: Three-for-71 receiving in win Sept. 16 vs. Cleveland, including a 44-yard TD in third quarter ... One catch for 11 yards Oct. 14 at Cleveland, and averaged 14.5 yards on four punt returns, including a 32-yarder that set up a Bengals TD ... On Oct. 21 vs. Pittsburgh, averaged 36.3 yards on three kickoff returns, including a 45-yarder, and had a three-yard catch ... Averaged 35.3 yards on three KOR Nov. 4 vs. Denver, and had a 17-yard reception ... On Nov. 11 vs. N.Y. Giants, had a key blitz pickup that freed Andy Dalton to throw 56-yard TD pass to A.J. Green on game’s first possession ... One catch for 24 yards Nov. 18 at Kansas City ... In playoff-clinching win Dec. 23 at Pittsburgh, had a 23-yard gain to the Pittsburgh 24-yard line on a shovel pass in the second quarter, setting up a Cincinnati FG ... On Dec. 30 vs. Baltimore, his 44-yard reception in fourth quarter from QB Bruce Gradkowski set up FG that put Cincinnati ahead to stay.
PREVIOUS SEASONS: 2009 - Limited by injuries to two games for New England ... Played his first game Oct. 25 against Tampa Bay ... Tampa Bay game was in England at London’s Wembley Stadium, and he had an 11-yard rush plus two KOR for 22.0 average ... Placed on Reserve/Injured list on Nov. 14.
2010 - Led New England with 18.0-yard reception average, catching 24 for 432 yards and three TDs ... Third in AFC and sixth in NFL in kickoff returns, with 25.8-yard average on 41 attempts ... Returned second-half kickoff 97 yards for TD Sept. 12 vs. Bengals ... Returned second-half kickoff 103 yards for TD Oct. 4 at Miami, second-longest KOR in Patriots history ... Was first Patriot since 2002 to return two kickoffs for TDs in a season ... Had three catches for 103 yards Oct. 31 vs. Minnesota, including 65-yard TD that was New England's longest scrimmage play of season ... Two TD receptions in regular-season finale 1-2-11 vs. Miami, for 40 and 42 yards ... Started Divisional playoff game 1-16-11 vs. N.Y. Jets (no catches), logging 21.6-yard average on five KORs.
2011 - Played in all 16 Bengals games, plus Wild Card playoff ... Saw action primarily on special teams, averaging 10.6 yards on 51 punt returns (eighth in AFC), with one TD, and 23.8 yards (seventh in AFC) on 42 kickoff returns ... His 51 punt returns broke Bengals season record of 43, set in 1993 by Patrick Robinson ... On Oct. 16 vs. Indianapolis, had 33-yard punt return to Colts 48-yard line, setting up a TD drive ... Named AFC Special teams Player of the Week for his performance Oct. 30 at Seattle, when his 186 total return yards included 56-yard punt return for TD ... Became first Bengal since Patrick Robinson in 1993 to lead team in both total punt returns and total kickoff returns ... Averaged 35.5 yards on two punt returns Dec. 18 at St. Louis, including 56-yarder in third quarter that set up a Cincinnati TD for a 13-6 lead ... In Wild Card playoff 1-7-12 at Houston, averaged 6.7 yards on three punt returns and had a 22-yard kickoff return.
COLLEGE: Left North Carolina with NCAA record for combined career punt and kickoff return yards (3523), despite missing final seven games of his 2008 senior season ... Set Atlantic Coast Conference records for career kickoff returns (109) and KOR yards (2688) ... In 2006 vs. Duke, became ninth player in NCAA history to return a kickoff and a punt for TDs in same game.
PERSONAL: Hometown is Burlington, N.C. ... Attended Cummings High School, where he was a three-year starter in both football and basketball ... Helped lead prep basketball team to a state title as a junior, playing guard ... Communications major at North Carolina.
The Bengals on Monday officially announced the signing of wide receiver/kick returner Brandon Tate, which has been reported as a one-year deal. The move locks up virtually all of the club's key special teams performers from a unit that finished first when combining the NFL's top 10 categories.