Brandon Tate thought his knee might have been bruised.
After taking a hit to his knee in the first quarter of Saturday's Notre Dame game, Tate went down hard and limped off the field.
I thought it was just a bruise or something" he said at a press conference Monday. 'Cause it was just real sore on the inside part of my knee" but the MRIs came back and told me everything.""
""Everything"" included tears in Tate's anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament" ruling him out for the remainder of the season and ending the senior's North Carolina career.
But he is surprisingly" ""fine.""
""I think we're more upset about it than he is"" quarterback Cameron Sexton said.
Tate, though obviously disappointed, is staying upbeat by thinking about his future — this will not be a career-ending injury.
Coach Butch Davis said he has spoken to Tate about his experiences coaching Reggie Wayne and Michael Irvin, who both went through similar injuries and came back to successful pro careers.
At first I was looking down while I was talking to him" Tate said. But when he told me about that" he said I looked up and made eye contact with him.
""He told me I was going to be alright" so I trust him" and now I just gotta now go and do my end.""
Tate will begin a strict rehabilitating process after undergoing surgery Wednesday at UNC Hospitals.
""Brandon will get back. He was fortunate that there was no other further significant damage" Davis said.
As tough as it is for him and us" there is a little silver lining in that.""
And so Davis' team begins its search for replacements for its most irreplaceable player.
""You know" to replace a kick returner punt returner and a receiver of his caliber — you just can't do it" Sexton said. But we're going to find somebody that's going to play really well in his place.""
The Tar Heels fared well in the last three quarters of the Notre Dame game" which Tate watched in the locker room and says his team can recreate next week.
He won't make the trip to Virginia opting instead to go home with his family but don't count on him missing many opportunities to cheer the team on the sidelines.
Just as T.J. Yates did after his injury last month" Tate hopes to become a cheerleader and mentor figure for the team.
""The only thing I do now is just be the biggest cheerleader" you know Tate said. (Davis) just told me to cheer the guys on keep them motivated" just try to do a little coaching with the receivers whenever I can.""
Tate ends his college career the leading kick-returner in the NCAA and just 304 yards short of the kickoff return mark.
With so many records set and personal goals met"" now Tate is focused on his last goal: the big leagues.
""I've been striving for that since day one" he said.
So I'm just going to go into rehab and just work harder than I ever have before" 'cause I know this is it for me to just try and get in the NFL.""
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