The Lions gave Golden Tate $31 million in the hopes that he would be a reliable No. 2 option at receiver. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
Allen Park — Coaches and players always are impressed with Calvin Johnson.
“Calvin has passed my expectations, and I’m talking about by light years,” receiver Golden Tate said.
The Lions signed Tate to a five-year, $31 million deal hoping to find a reliable No. 2 receiver to help free Johnson, the only receiver named first-team All-Pro three straight seasons since Terrell Owens (2000-02).
The highlight plays Johnson makes during games are commonplace at practices. Most of his teammates also would consider him the hardest worker and most benevolent guy in the locker room.
After five months in Detroit, Tate has seen firsthand what so many others have raved about.
“Calvin deserves every piece of success, every single blessing that he receives,” Tate said. “He’s humble, he’s a great leader, he practices his tail off, charitable, strong Christian. I mean, every penny that he receives, I think he deserves, and I think he deserves the world because he’s a genuine, good person.
“It’s not fake either because you can tell when people are fake. He’s a good dude. And on top of that, he’s the best at what he does.”
Johnson, tight end Eric Ebron and guards Darren Keyton and Rodney Austin practiced.
... Running back Joique Bell missed practice for personal reasons.