Golden Tate did not make it.
The veteran receiver was inactive Monday night as the Giants opened their season against the Steelers at MetLife Stadium. Tate was slowed the last two weeks with a hamstring issue and listed as questionable for the game.
This is the second consecutive season Tate, 32, was unavailable to the Giants for their season opener. Last year, he missed the first four games while serving a suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances. He ended up playing in 11 games in his first year with the Giants and caught 49 passes for 676 yards and six touchdowns.
Tate might have been able to give it a try but hamstring injuries tend to linger and certainly can be exacerbated with activity. The Giants hope this is only a one-game issue and Tate will be ready to face the Bears in Chicago in Week 2.
Without Tate, the Giants were expected to rely on Sterling Shepard and second-year receiver Darius Slayton. The only other wide receivers on the roster are Damion Ratley and C.J. Board, meaning the Giants have four receivers on their practice squad but they opted not to activate one of them for this game.
Safety Sean Chandler and offensive lineman Chad Slade were activated off the practice squad for the game. Teams are allowed 55 players on the roster for games, with 48 active.
So, new head coach Joe Judge rolled the dice by having only four receivers active for the game. Board, 26, went into the game with two NFL receptions, both with the Jaguars last season. Ratley, 25, had 25 receptions in two seasons with the Browns. Both were set to make their Giants debut.
Tate’s absence continues a trend the Giants want to put behind them. With a myriad of injuries to his main targets last season, quarterback Daniel Jones never took one snap with Tate, Shepard, Slayton, Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram all on the field or available to him in any game.