There are characters from television shows that, no matter how perilous their journey or dangerous their situation, they always survive. Perhaps it's the writer's way of offering twists for season finales, or keeping a quality actor, who originally played a character initially scheduled to take an early exit (read: Sheppard, Jack).
There is a version like that in Cincinnati; someone who insists on sticking around, no matter how much the odds are stacked against him... and his name is Brandon Tate.
Believe it or not, Tate, claimed off waivers from New England on Sept. 4, 2011, is entering a possible sixth season with the Bengals. A receiver usually buried on a talented depth chart, Tate adds just enough value to remain with the Bengals, usually through special teams. Cornerback Adam Jones, who splits returns with Tate, plays significant time on defense, preventing him from taking a full-time role as a returner, which requires having another returner on the roster.
With the acquisition of rookie Mario Alford through the 2015 NFL draft, it was believed (if not hoped), Tate's square dancing punt returns were coming to an end.
But, not just yet.
In addition to having a strong training camp as a receiver, Tate is adding value to his role on special teams. Not only is he working as a kicker returner, he's also working as a gunner.
"Wednesday, during a joint practice with the Giants, Tate put on a clinic during a drill that pitted one team's gunners against punt-return blockers from the other team," wrote ESPN NFL reporter Coley Harvey, adding that the coaching staff has praised his work this week. "When Tate burst off the line sprinting left, he quickly got past his two Giants blockers without getting touched before settling downfield in the face of a stand-in punt returner."
Despite the disdain most people hold for depth chart analysis, Tate is listed with the second-team offense with Marvin Jones, and above veterans Greg Little and Denarius Moore