Brandon Tate is the Bengals all-time punt return leader.
Wide receiver Brandon Tate may be in for the roster fight of his life, but with the Bengals looking at so many question marks in free agency they're glad to have his veteran influence back in the fold.
Tate, 28, signed a one-year deal Friday, as he looks to extend his team-high streak of 102 consecutive NFL games played that is tied with defensive tackle Domata Peko.
Tate, who has not missed a regular-season or post-season game dating back to his 2010 season with New England, can tie Bengals' all-time leader Tremain Mack on his next kick return with 146 attempts.
After the Bengals claimed Tate on waivers the week before the 2011 season began, Tate became the franchise leader in punt returns with 153 and punt return yards with 1,411. His 9.22-yard average puts him barely outside the top seven on the Bengals' all-time list, just behind Lemar Parish's 9.24.
Franchise leader Adam Jones, with an 11.3 return average, hits free agency next week, as does starting wide receiver Marvin Jones and slot receiver Mohamed Sanu. Tate isn't the answer if they leave, but he's been a reliable backup. Last season he caught a diving 55-yard touchdown on his first of three targets in 2015.
"Brandon has made big plays to help us win games, and the consistency of his work ethic and his overall play is a big plus," said head coach Marvin Lewis in a news release. "We're excited to have him back in the mix on both offense and special teams. He's a player we've been able to count on every week."
It is expected that Tate is competing with last year's seventh-round pick, wide receiver Mario Alford, to return punts and kicks, but he gives them a proven veteran who makes few mistakes in the return game.
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