One interception in forty-four career NFL games.
That’s hardly the stat line of a Hall-of-Fame defensive back.
It’s also Patrick Bates’ production on the gridiron during his short-lived NFL career with the then-Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders and Atlanta Falcons.
Bates, a physically-imposing 6’3, 220-lb. free safety, was a First-Team All-American during his heyday with the Texas A&M Aggies.
Al Davis and the Raiders promptly drafted Bates 12th overall in the 1993 NFL Draft.
Raiders fans hoped Bates would shore up their defense like Mike Haynes and Lester Hayes – two of the greatest shutdown defensive backs in their team’s history.
Regrettably, Patrick Bates failed to live up to the massive hype.
Instead of reaching Haynes and Hayes’ stratosphere, Bates is now synonymous with guys like JaMarcus Russell, Todd Marinovich, and John Clay – three of the biggest busts who wore Silver and Black.
Had Bates gotten his act together, he would’ve been a game changer.
Alas, he faded into oblivion after a forgettable three-year stint in the NFL.
Patrick James Bates was born on November 27, 1970 in Galveston, TX.
Bates described Galveston as “a town with beaches, and a harbor and longshoremen, a nice community,” per The New York Times’ Thomas George.
Bates had a troubled childhood.
His mother Jean was an alcoholic who threatened to turn her three kids over to state care.
The two boys and their younger sister Sonia Nicole had all been in foster care at one point.
Bates told George a lady named Isabel Singleton, whom he would call his grandmother, took care of him:
“By the grace of God, I went into a loving home, to a lady who I would call my grandmother, Isabel Singleton, who raised me.”
“I have a tattoo in remembrance of her on my left arm. She was fifty-eight. She had already raised seven sons and one daughter.”
“My sister went into a foster care. But my brother, Jarvis, he was in and out of youth centers. He would run away from every one, from Galveston to Houston to Corpus Christi.”
According to The New York Times, Bates’ father left town when he was in seventh grade.
As of 1996, he had no idea if the man was alive.
Bates didn’t see his younger sister Sonia Nicole until his senior year at Ball High School in Galveston, per George.
The previous year, another youngster shot and killed his brother Jarvis over an argument.
Jarvis Bates was just twenty-two years old.
It was good BCP running into legend Patrick Bates from Galveston Ball High he was the best FS in the country 1989.Went on and played his college ball at Texas A&M and played in the NFL for Oakland Raiders! @PBates29 @galvestonball @texasamFBfeedr #BCPKNOWS pic.twitter.com/uRu5aNiGRO
— BCP Foundation (@bayoucitypreps) February 11, 2020
Despite Bates’ tumultuous upbringing, he told George he followed his moral compass:
“I know right from wrong, and no one can lead me anywhere I don’t want to go. I’ve seen it. I know what can happen.”
“I did not have my first drink until I was a sophomore in college. No one was going to get me to cut class, to sell drugs, to make mistakes with girls. If it wasn’t right, I wasn’t going to do it.”
“I won’t say I’ve never made a mistake, but some things you will never see me involved in. When I see something bad, I don’t go in that direction.”
Bates starred for the Ball Tors football team in Galveston, TX.
He also starred for the Tors’ track and field team.
Ball High School produced other future NFL stars such as Anthony Phillips, Terry Irving, George McCullough, Casey Hampton, Derrick Pope, and Mike Evans.
College Days With The UCLA Bruins And Texas A&M Aggies
Patrick Bates was a true freshman safety for the UCLA Bruins during the 1989 NCAA season.
The Bruins were coming off two consecutive 10-2 seasons under the leadership of head football coach Terry Donahue.
They also won seven consecutive Bowl games (including three Rose Bowl games) from 1982 to 1988.
That span was one of the most successful in Bruins football history.
Regrettably, Patrick Bates never tasted success in a UCLA uniform.
The Bruins’ play slipped dramatically in 1989.
They went 3-7-1 and didn’t receive a bowl invite for the first time in nine seasons.
Bates contributed one interception in eleven games during UCLA’s abysmal season.
To make matters worse, his mother Jean Bates and grandmother Isabel Singleton passed away within a month of each other during his freshman campaign.
Patrick Bates eventually decided to return to his home state of Texas in 1990.
He became a member of R.C. Slocum’s Texas A&M Aggies.
Bates sat out the 1990 NCAA season after transferring from UCLA.
Bates’ first game as a member of the Aggies was against Curley Hallman’s LSU Tigers on September 14, 1991.
Bates told TexAgs.com’s Gabe Bock in 2019 his country roots and desire to stay closer to his family in the Lone Star State were the reasons he decided to transfer to Texas A&M:
“I decided to go back. It was time for me to come home. UCLA was too far for me, and I’m a country boy.”
“Texas A&M was a great fit. Tim Cassidy was my recruiting coordinator. They hosted me, and I came here immediately.”
“I had a great feeling and loved the place, loved the school, and loved the players. I just fell in love with it.”
“Losing my mom and grandmother and being so far from home was a big part of it. I needed to be closer to home to get that family support.”
“It was hard for my other family to be able to get to my games at UCLA, and coming here, my family was able to watch me play.”
When Bates transferred to Texas A&M, he became a member of the Aggies’ “Wrecking Crew” defense that featured senior linebacker Quentin Coryatt, freshman defensive tackle Sam Adams, and junior cornerback Derrick Frazier.
Les Raiders choisissent DB Patrick Bates de UCLA et Texas A&M pic.twitter.com/dJvE4kzTGk
— George Boole / Hunter Renfrow Fan Account (@rhaydde) April 19, 2021
Bates made quite an impression in his Aggies debut: he picked off Tigers quarterback Chad Loup twice in Texas A&M’s 45-7 romp over LSU.
Bates told Bock the memorable moment gave him chills some twenty-eight years later:
“I remember the first game – I think we played LSU. I think I had two interceptions. We knew it was a unique defense and a special place.”
“I’m excited to come back home. I knew it was a special place, and I’m excited to be home. I get chills thinking about tonight.”
With Coryatt and Bates wreaking havoc on defense, the Aggies won ten of their eleven regular-season games and ranked twelfth in the nation in the final Associated Press poll.
Bates finished his first season in College Station, TX with a team-high four interceptions in eleven games.
He became a letterwinner and earned all-SWC honors after the 1991 NCAA season.
The Aggies won the first of three straight Southwest Conference championships in 1991.
They were aiming to win their second consecutive bowl game when they squared off against the Florida State Seminoles in the Cotton Bowl on January 1, 1992.
Unfortunately, Texas A&M lost in a low-scoring affair, 10-2.
Despite the loss, the Wrecking Crew made life miserable for Seminoles quarterback Casey Weldon.
Weldon, who passed for 2,527 yards and twenty-two touchdowns during the regular season, threw a career-high four picks and was sacked three times.
Patrick Bates intercepted two of Weldon’s passes.
“He tipped off where he was going to throw it,” Bates told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ray Murray. “I broke on it and got there before the receiver.”
Not only that, but Bates and Co. limited Florida State – the nation’s ninth-highest scoring team at 34.5 points per game – to just ten points and 280 yards on offense.
The Seminoles also lost a fumble during the 1992 Cotton Bowl Game.
The Aggies would continue to stifle teams with their suffocating defense during the 1992 NCAA season.
In fact, they led the Southwest Conference in that department.
Texas A&M went 12-1 and limited the opposition to just 15.1 points per game in 1992.
The Baylor Bears, who won seven games and surrendered an average of 23.2 points per game, were a far second.
Patrick Bates finished the 1992 NCAA season with two interceptions and a team-high ninety-five tackles in thirteen games.
He became a letterwinner and earned all-SWC honors for a second straight year.
Bates also earned First-Team All-American honors as an Aggies free safety in 1992.
I remember Patrick Bates laying out Jerome Bettis in a bowl game I believe it was. Physical box safety but didn’t do much in the league after Raiders took him in 1st round out of Texas A&M.
— Ryan Holmes (@Rholm22) January 4, 2021
The Aggies received an invitation to play in the Cotton Bowl against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on January 1, 1993.
Unlike the previous year, the score wasn’t close this time around.
The Irish, behind a combined 190 yards on the ground from Reggie Brooks and Jerome Bettis, walloped the Aggies, 28-3.
In contrast, Texas A&M’s ground attack sputtered.
The Aggies mustered just seventy-eight rushing yards in the blowout loss.
It was also Patrick Bates’ last game in the collegiate ranks.
Unknown to Bates, he would return to the West Coast to embark on his NFL journey.
Pro Football Career
The then-Los Angeles Raiders made Patrick Bates the 12th overall selection of the 1993 NFL Draft.
Bates told The New York Times about his experience with Raiders owner Al Davis.
“Al picked me in the draft,” Bates said. “He would talk to me at practice. I remember when I bought my first Mercedes. He said, ‘Bates, nice car. I bought that car.’ He tapped his chest. We laughed.”
The Raiders weren’t a bad defensive team during the 1992 NFL season.
They gave up 4,516 yards and finished 12th in team defense that year.
They also surrendered 2,833 yards in the air and finished 10th in passing defense in the league.
Unfortunately, the Silver and Black won just seven games and missed the postseason for the first time in three years.
Davis took a chance on the 6’3″, 220-lb Bates, one of the most physically-imposing safeties in the collegiate ranks.
Little did Davis know his gamble wouldn’t pay off several years later.
Bates had only one interception in nine starts and twenty-nine total games for Los Angeles.
That’s how bad his tenure in Southern California was.
Four years earlier, his UCLA Bruins won a measly three games during his true freshman season.
He also experienced a devastating personal tragedy that year.
It seemed Patrick Bates and Southern California were a volatile mixture from the get-go.
Bates, who believed he was the Raiders’ best safety, described the team’s locker room atmosphere as “miserable.”
He also said the team “jerked” him around, per George:
“I saw a lot of old heads in the locker room who were used to doing things their way, and when you spoke up for change, for winning, they looked at you like you were crazy.”
“And then the staff treated me that way. I truly believed I was the best player at my position and the Raiders just jerked me around, in and out, from starter to backup. I didn’t understand it. They didn’t understand it.”
“What I saw was a place where there were a lot of Indians and every one of them thought they were the chief.”
“No, what happened there was it was a miserable atmosphere, and I wanted no part of it. It was tense and tight.”
“Some of it I did not handle well. On dealing with it, on some of it, I got bad advice from my representation.”
People say the Raiders are tough guys, but this is an actual produced football card of LA Raiders safety Patrick Bates in 1993 pic.twitter.com/P4qK4vU0AQ
— Brennan Mense (@BrennanMense) October 20, 2017
George also obtained a statement from the team that read, “Playing for the Raiders takes a special type of player blending talent, character, and will to win. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for Patrick.”
Bates also dispelled rumors he wanted to turn his back on his football career in favor of his other passion: music.
It was no secret Bates hung out with his rapper friends like Warren G. and Snoop Doggy Dogg (who has since been renamed “Snoop Dogg”).
That lifestyle didn’t sit well with Al Davis and Co., per George.
“Anyone who says I left football because I was more interested in music is wrong,” Bates told The New York Times in May 1996.
Bates inexplicably went AWOL from the re-Christened Oakland Raiders on August 30, 1995.
His disappearance occurred just four days before the team’s season opener.
Bates was entering his third season in the pro ranks.
During Bates’ infamous one-year hiatus, he established a new record company with his Texas A&M Aggies teammate and Dallas Cowboys cornerback Kevin Smith, per George.
Eight months later, the Raiders got sick of Bates’ act and traded him to the Atlanta Falcons for the latter’s second-round selection in the 1996 NFL Draft.
— AFL Godfather🏴☠️👓🏈 (@NFLMAVERICK) November 27, 2019
The Raiders won nineteen of thirty-two games with Bates in their lineup.
For its part, Atlanta narrowly missed out on drafting him.
The Falcons made Washington Huskies offensive lineman Lincoln Kennedy the ninth overall pick in 1993.
The Raiders plucked Bates from the draft pool three selections later.
Falcons head coach June Jones, who dubbed Bates a “prize,” felt his team received manna from heaven, per The New York Times:
“Whatever happened with him with the Raiders, all we see is a bright, hard-working, talented kid. I cannot believe that we could get this lucky.”
“I wake up in the morning and say, ‘What’s the deal here? This guy is a great potential All-Pro.'”
Jones couldn’t have been more wrong.
While Bates recorded one fumble recovery in his nine starts with the Falcons, he eventually lost his starting spot to Brad Edwards because he had zero passes defensed during that stretch.
The Falcons also faded into obscurity.
Atlanta won just three games during the 1996 NFL season: its worst performance in seven years.
To nobody’s surprise, the Falcons fired Jones – the same head coach who sang Bates’ praises – at the end of the season.
Bates didn’t last long in Atlanta, either.
The Falcons released him just ten days after authorities arrested him for a domestic incident that occurred on April 12, 1997.
According to SFGate.com’s Ron Kroichick, Bates’ release stemmed from a domestic incident involving Bates’ ex-girlfriend and their young son:
“According to police reports, Bates kicked down the door to the woman’s apartment and forced her and the baby to leave with him at gunpoint.”
“He originally was charged with aggravated assault, two counts of kidnapping, reckless endangerment, and false imprisonment.”
A judge ordered Bates to pay a $5,000 fine and $711 in restitution fees, placed him on five years of probation, and ordered him to undergo anger management counseling, per Kroichick.
Bates received a new lease on life a little over a year later.
He agreed to a one-year deal with the Raiders for the veteran’s minimum of $216,000 in May 1998, per SFGate.com.
Regrettably, Patrick Bates’ second tour of duty with the Raiders never materialized.
He never played another down in the National Football League.
Hometowner & friend, Patrick Bates. 1st round NFL pick in '93, set nat'l track & field records in high school. Beast! pic.twitter.com/klK3CbEk
— Chad Smith (@chadsmith71) January 11, 2012
Bates finished his three-year NFL career with one interception, one forced fumble, and three fumble recoveries in forty-four career games with the Raiders and Falcons.
Bates’ pro football career was so ignominious, ESPN named him the 37th biggest bust in NFL draft history in 2008.
He was the highest-ranked defensive back in that list of disastrous draft picks.
Bates could’ve been a big-name safety mentioned in the same breath as Emlen Tunnell, Ken Houston, Ronnie Lott, or Ed Reed.
Unfortunately, Bates started his pro football career off on the wrong foot and never got back on track.
He will go down as one of the biggest what-ifs in the game’s rich 102-year history.
Twenty-two years after he played his last NFL down, Patrick Bates still has football pumping through his veins.
Bates established College Football Legends LLC in the Dallas-Fort Worth, TX area in July 2018.
He discussed his latest endeavor with TexAgs.com a little over a year he founded his company:
“I’m in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I have a company called Legends. We are working with players and coming together as one group.”
“We’re focused on branding ourselves. We’re working to bring out likeness together. We’re working with the University of Texas, University of Houston and will probably kick off soon as the College Football Legends.”
“We’re engaging players at their school. Bringing some of the legends back to Texas, Baylor, and the University of Houston and letting fans engage with players and legends again.”
Patrick Bates Selected to Texas A&M Athletics Hall of Fame https://t.co/CchFeMXGiU
— TAMULettermen (@TAMULettermen) August 14, 2019
While Bates didn’t live up to expectations on the NFL gridiron, he remains one of the biggest names in Texas A&M football history.
Bates was inducted into the Texas A&M Athletics Hall of Fame on September 13, 2019.
“I’m thrilled and very humbled to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Bates told TexAgs.com on the day of his induction.