Golden Tate confirmed to local reporters on radio row at the Super Bowl Thursday that Calvin Johnson is considering retirement because "his body just isn't holding up."
"I don't know how serious the injuries are, but there are times when I've gotten out of bed after a Sunday game and almost fallen on the floor because I'm in so much pain," said Tate, who was at the Super Bowl to promote Pizza Hut's golden pizza promotion.
"And I'm a guy who can manipulate tacklers and get the best of them most of the time. So I understand. I hope he makes the right decision. I hope he takes the time he needs. I hope that regardless of what he chooses, he has no regrets."
Tate said it's ultimately a decision Johnson has to make that makes the most sense for him.
"At the end of the day I think we all need to understand that there's more to life than football," Tate said. "We have an opportunity to play football for 10-15 years, if we're lucky, but that leaves us around 35, 38 years old and you also have to think about your wife and your kids.
"Do you want to be 45, 50 years old where you can't even get off the porch? Or do you want to live the rest of your life being able to walk where you want to walk and things of that sort.
"He's given a lot to this game and we're truly blessed to have had the opportunity to watch him and us guys be a part of that."
If Johnson does retire, the Lions will rely heavily on Tate to be their No. 1 receiver in 2016. It's a role Tate says he can handle.
"Absolutely. That's how I prepare," he said. "I prepare as if I'm a No. 1. I didn't come to Detroit thinking I was No. 2."
Tate proved he could be a No. 1 receiver in 2014 when Johnson was forced out of three games and was severely limited in a few others because of ankle troubles. He caught 99 passes for 1,331 yards and earned his first Pro Bowl nod that season.
He led the team with 90 receptions this past season and also chipped in 813 yards and six touchdowns.
The Lions signed Tate to a five-year, $31 million free agent deal before the 2014 season, so he's signed through 2018.
"I think as a competitor you have to prepare like you're the No. 1, because you never know what's going to happen with injuries – different changes in the locker room," Tate said. "You just have to prepare that way.
"I have a lot of confidence that I can do it and I hope that everyone else does as well."