The Atlanta Falcons sent London-born Osi Umenyiora to England this week to help promote the team's international matchup against the Detroit Lions in October. But there is another Falcon already looking forward to the game at Wembley Stadium -- for a different reason.
Newcomer Dwight Lowery, a veteran poised to start at free safety, might have a few choice words for one particular Detroit receiver: Golden Tate. Last year, when Lowery played for Jacksonville and Tate for Seattle, Lowery suffered what turned out to be a season-ending concussion after absorbing a vicious block from Tate.
Lowery still feels bitter about the play despite Tate being fined $21,000 for an illegal hit.
"To me, that was more of a cheap shot," Lowery explained. "I guess he has a reputation for that. But I know this: Football has a weird way of things happening. I'll just put it that way. I don't feel like I have to exact my revenge or anything like that. I know that we play them.
"Don't get me wrong: I'm not going to go out of control if I see him on the field and he has the ball. Then I'd mess around and miss a tackle. And I'm also not going to do anything where the ball is running the other way and I see him and I go after him. But if I have an opportunity and he's trying to crack me and the ball is coming my way, we'll just see what happens."
The hit occurred during Week 3 of last season on the game's initial drive. The Seahawks faced second-and-6 and were in the I-formation when quarterback Russell Wilson signaled for receiver Sidney Rice to go in motion. Lowery dropped down to cover Rice in the slot.
Rice ran a quick route into the flat. As Lowery kept his eyes focused on Rice, Tate, split out wide left, took a sharp angle toward Lowery and blasted Lowery off his feet with a two-hand shove. The end result of the play was a 2-yard run up the middle by Marshawn Lynch. Lowery viewed Tate's block as senseless based on the direction of the run.
"To me, that was more of a cheap shot because of my responsibility on the play," Lowery said. "I didn't see what Seattle did inside because I was focused on my man. I was shuffling with (Rice), staying square so it case he turned up, I could cut him off. The run play was on the other side of the field.
"Literally the flow of the play was going to the other side of the field. And for whatever reason, Tate decided to crack me. I didn't get crack called probably because the play was on the other side of the field. And, like I said, it was another one of those where I didn't see it coming."
Lowery fell on his back and his head snapped back and hit the ground. He flailed his left leg trying to regain his footing, but hitting the ground obviously left him incoherent.
"I don't think the actual hit that gave me the concussion," Lowery said. "It was the impact on the ground. Dude got me. I know they say in football to keep your head on a swivel, I'm guarding somebody. And that's what I was coached to do. I didn't have any run responsibility in that certain defense, that certain route combination."
When asked this offseason about the block on Lowery, Tate initial thoughts were, "What team did he play for? Oh, was he out for the season? For what? What was the injury?''
Tate was asked if he remembered the play.
"Well, for one, I was just doing my job," he said. "The safety's down, I'm supposed to, I think at that moment, cut block. It was a run play and the ball was in here and he was moving this way (the opposite way) looking at the ball. In this league you've got to have your head on a swivel.
"I never have intentions of hurting any player. I want every player to do well in this league, so it's news to me that I ended his season. I hope he comes back stronger than ever. It's football here."
As for Lowery saying the play won't be forgotten when the Falcons and Lions meet, Tate seemed more than up for the challenge.
"Yeah, that's fine," Tate said. "We'll see when that time comes. I'm excited to play ball so we'll play ball (and) we'll see what happens.
"I have no problem with him being competitive and wanting to have revenge. Just keep it within the rulebook. Hopefully it's not a cheap shot that's at my knees or my ankles or is after the whistle, but, hey, I'm all for it. Bring it on. Let's go."
That Oct. 26 date in London just became a little more interesting.