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Seahawks Leaning on Familiarity With New Arrival Marquise Goodwin

Reunited with his former position coach, Marquise Goodwin will aim to overcome adversity once again and break camp with a Seahawks team that has kept tabs on him for quite some time.

RENTON, WA — Marquise Goodwin has only been a member of the Seahawks for a day, but one could argue this moment has been years in the making. 

Signing Goodwin to a one-year contract on Sunday night, Seattle has long held a respect for the 31-year old receiver. Well before the team showed interest in him last offseason, it strongly considered selecting him during the 2013 NFL Draft. But instead, the Bills landed him with pick No. 78 in the third round, and the Seahawks wound up taking Kansas State wideout Chris Harper one round later.

For his final two years in Buffalo, Goodwin's position coach was current Seahawks passing game coordinator and receivers coach Sanjay Lal, who, according to head coach Pete Carroll, played an instrumental role in bringing the veteran pass catcher to the Pacific Northwest.

"Sanjay's coached him before," Carroll noted following the team's first OTA session on Monday afternoon. "And they have a relationship that gave us real insights."

Injury woes have plagued Goodwin for the majority of his career and erased most of his first season under Lal's tutelage back in 2015. The following year, however, he put together arguably his second-best season to date with 431 yards and three touchdowns on 29 receptions. 

After his time with Lal and the Bills came to an end, Goodwin found his new football home across the country with the 49ers. He spent three seasons with the Seahawks' division rival but stayed healthy for a full 16-game slate just once, which is still the only such occurrence of his entire career. And when he squared off against Seattle during that stretch, he caught just eight of 16 targets for 111 yards and no touchdowns.

Underwhelming face-to-face meetings aside, Carroll is intrigued by the skillset Goodwin possesses, highlighted by his top-end speed. But while it's unlikely the nine-year veteran still has the same explosiveness that saw him post a 40-yard dash time of 4.27 seconds at the 2013 combine, Carroll sees a well-rounded package that can be deployed in a variety of ways and believes Goodwin put that all on display Monday.

"He's extraordinarily fast," described Carroll. "He's a gifted athlete. Gosh, he came right out here on day one and he still shows he can fly. He's a real disciplined route runner and he's also a guy who's played all the spots, so I'm thinking that he will add something—one, what he brings athletically, but also his background and his makeup and his versatility, I'm hoping will just rub off on other guys as he goes through it."

Carroll says Goodwin will not be pressured to personally mentor Seattle's relatively young group of wideouts, but he added that, with the help of Lal, the Texas native will be used to demonstrate what the team desires out of the position. 

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Most recently, Goodwin appeared in 14 games for the Bears last season, catching 20 of 40 targets for 313 yards and a touchdown. It was his first time back out on the gridiron after opting out of the 2020 campaign due to COVID-19 concerns—a decision he made in part because of a family tragedy that occurred three years prior. 

Against the Giants in Week 10 of the 2017 season, Goodwin reeled in just one catch but took it 83 yards for a touchdown. He became visibly emotional after the score, dropping to his knees and gesturing towards the sky as his teammates huddled around him. In a postgame interview, he revealed that his wife, Morgan, had suffered complications during childbirth earlier that morning and their son had passed away as a result. 

Goodwin vowed to never leave his wife's side in a time of crisis again, nor put the health of his family in jeopardy, for the sake of football. 

"Three years ago, I made a decision that affected my whole life," Goodwin began in his opt-out statement. "I chose to leave my wife at the hospital after prematurely birthing our first baby due to an incompetent cervix, which resulted in a fatality, to play in a football game. I felt like I had to prove to my coaches and new team that I was dedicated to winning, and I wouldn't let anything keep me from that goal, not even my family."

"The following year, in the same month—November, same week—our lives took another traumatic turn," he continued. "Two weeks after learning that her abdominal cerclage was failing, my wife called shortly after she had landed and arrived to our team hotel in Tampa, Florida, to inform me she was having painful contractions. My grandma, who flew up to help take care of Morgan while I would go to work in away games, had to rush her to the ER. Here we are again, in the same predicament as a year ago, except I was almost 3,000 miles away. Anxiety overtook me as I again had to make a similar decision: 'Will I choose to play again, like everyone may expect me to do? Or do I go home and tend to my ailing wife?' Nevertheless, I told our gym at the time that I absolutely had to fly back to take care of my wife to honor my wedding vows I made to her, myself and God."

Asked about Goodwin's ability to overcome incredible adversity, Carroll expressed a great deal of respect for his newest receiver.

"He's got a makeup that I think he can handle a lot," Carroll assessed. "I think he's got an awareness to him—that's my first impression—that he could deal with issues that other people might otherwise struggle with."

The Seahawks have found Goodwin at a crucial point in his playing career. He will have to earn his way onto an active roster this season, particularly with a Seattle team that started the 2021 campaign with just four receivers—DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Dee Eskridge and Freddie Swain—in tow. That quartet remains intact, and there's more competition behind it with the likes of Penny Hart, Cody Thompson and 2022 seventh-round draft picks Bo Melton and Dareke Young.

But fighting and winning uphill battles is nothing new to Goodwin, who's proven capable of clearing every emotional and physical hurdle thrown his way thus far. There is no reason to believe his resiliency will dissipate this summer, even with Seattle's numbers creating a murky path to its 53-man roster for him.

After all, conquering such challenges is just what he does.