RENTON, Wash. -- Golden Tate would rather be talked about because he's making catches or scoring touchdowns.
This week, the Seattle wide receiver has gotten plenty of attention and very little of it for the three catches he had last Sunday against Dallas. Such is the situation Tate finds himself in after laying a block that flattened Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee and drew a fine from the NFL.
"I just have to deal with it, fix the problem, make sure it doesn't happen again," Tate said on Thursday. "It's unfortunate that I got fined, but rules are rules.”
Tate was hit with a hefty fine from the league for his block on Lee that left the Dallas linebacker with an abrasion on his chin and helped define the Seahawks' physical pounding of the Cowboys in a 27-7 victory last Sunday.
Almost immediately after Tate's block, the debate started about whether it was legal and if it would draw a fine. The play happened in the fourth quarter when Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson scrambled from the pocket with Lee in pursuit. Tate, who was running a pass route, circled back and caught Lee with a block the linebacker didn't see coming. Lee was sent flying backward with his cleats in the air.
On Monday, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he believed the block was perfectly legal and would not draw a fine. By Thursday, Carroll was trying to find out from the league why the block was illegal and how to avoid the situation in the future.
"We worked hard to understand what was going on with their evaluation of it. We worked behind the scenes and we're still talking to the league to make sure we know because we need to teach our guys to stay within the guidelines," Carroll said. "It was a great effort by Golden to make the block that he needed it to make, but unfortunately they saw that there was a little contact to the bottom of his facemask and perhaps his chin, and that's not OK. Why that's important to us is that we need to understand clearly how we can avoid doing that.”
Tate said he plans to appeal the fine and during the appeals process hopes to get a better understanding from the league of what needs to be different in the future.
"When I do my appeal I'm going to ask them that `What would you suggest I do so this doesn't happen again?"' Tate said. "I never have intentions on hurting a player and always want to play within the rules. That's a question that's going to come up when I do my appeal.”
Ultimately, Tate would prefer the conversation be strictly about catching passes than borderline hits. Lost in the debate about his block on Lee was what Tate brought to the Seahawks offense after missing the season opener at Arizona with a knee injury. All three of Tate's catches went for first downs, including a fourth-quarter, third-down reception that set up Seattle with a first-and-goal at the Dallas 3. Marshawn Lynch plunged in on the next play for the final score in the Seahawks victory.
Getting consistent production out of Tate -- a second-round pick in 2010 -- finally started happening toward the end of last season. Of his 35 receptions last season, 19 came in the final five games.
"I think I kind of left off where I did the end of last year. I think I did some things positive. I think I did some things that I need to work on," Tate said. "I'm looking to play better than last week this week and keep progressing to be a dominant player at some point.”
Notes: Carroll believes the only player who might not be able to go Monday night against Green Bay is reserve CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring). LT Russell Okung, who was inactive against Dallas with a bone bruise in his left knee, was a full participant in practice on Thursday. ... Carroll came out in support of Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano and the way the Buccaneers handled the kneel-down at the end of their loss to the Giants. "I think it was a competitor competing and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. That's exactly what you should do, try to win the game, and there is a chance to win the game on that play. I thought Greg did exactly the right thing.”