Eagles wide receiver Marquise Goodwin opts out of season over COVID-19 concerns

ByTim McManus ESPN logo
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Eagles WR Marquise Goodwin opts out of season
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Family is top of mind for Marquise Goodwin.

Eagles wide receiver Marquise Goodwin has opted out of the 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns.

Family is top of mind for Goodwin. His wife, Morgan, had a baby girl in February after suffering multiple miscarriages.

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He explained his decision to opt out in an Instagram post:

"WHY I'M OPTING OUT FROM THE 2020 NFL SEASON By Marquise Goodwin - husband, father, son, brother, football player

@nfl . Before I get into the specifics, hear me out.

It is truly a blessing and privilege to be able to play football, a game that I love so much and have been blessed to play since the age of 9. The NFL Organization provides my family and I with many opportunities that wouldn't have presented itself in other industries. Traveling to several States multiple times a year and internationally to play on foreign soil has allowed me to gain an appreciation for different cultures and a wider world view perspective. The NFL Football organization has allowed me to create a platform I always dreamed of and it allows me to reach numerous people on different stages of life.

Three years ago, I made a decision that affected my whole life. I choose to leave my wife at the hospital after prematurely birthing our first baby boy (due to incompetent cervix) which resulted in a fatality, to play on 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 the goal, not even my family.

The following year in the same month, same week, our lives took another traumatic turn. Two weeks after learning her abdominal cerclage was failing, my wife called me shortly after we landed and arrived to our team hotel in Tampa, Florida to inform me she was having painful contractions, and my grandma (who flew up to help take care of Morgan while I would go to work and away games) had to rush her to the emergency room. Here we are again in the same predicament as a year ago, except I was almost 3,000 miles away this time. Anxiety weighed heavily on me because I once again had to decide - will I choose to play a game again like everyone may expect me to, or do I go home and tend to my ailing wife? After much prayer and discussion, I told our team GM that I absolutely had to fly back and take care of my wife, in attempt to honor my wedding vowels that I made to both her, myself, and God. He and the 49ers organization, as well as my teammates, fully supported that decision which took a huge weight off of my shoulders. Unfortunately, we ended up losing our twin boys, making it now 3 angel babies that I've had to hold and watch as their little heart beats grew more and more faint by the minute, until it stopped. My dream of being a father once again took a huge blow and it hurt deeply.

After those losses, I was still expected to perform on the gridiron. Soon, I began to lose my excitement for playing the game as all I could think about was my wife at home. She didn't have a pregnant belly, no one to cling to, no shoulder to cry on, no one to talk to, while I'm at work getting love from everyone. Some may not understand as they haven't had to deal with this issue. It made me vulnerable and I didn't know how to cope with the loss of our babies. My game decreased, started playing less, getting injured, losing weight, and I wasn't the same vibrant soul while in the football facility as I once was. I was mad as I felt I should be at home helping my best friend get past this grief therefore I could go be MARQUISE GOODWIN the guy I was on the field my first season in San Francisco, except better.

Onward to February 2019, our lives changed for the better, as we finally were blessed to bring home our first living child (rainbow baby). SHE is the reason I am opting out for this season. After choosing football many times, I feel I am inclined to make the right decision by finally choosing my family first. It is known the NFL is implementing safety protocols to combat the COVID-19 Pandemic, as well as other professional sporting leagues. I won't take the chance of experiencing another loss because of my selfish decision making. I know the NFL is trying implement safety protocols to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other professional sporting leagues, but I just can't chance experiencing another loss because of my selfish decision making. It's not something I'm willing to live with, so I've chosen to opt out of playing during the 2020 NFL season. I must protect my family, and this is the best way for me to do that. I'd ask you all respect my decision and hope that you all stay safe through these trying times. My prayers go out to all of the medical professionals putting their health at risk to try and keep us safe and develop a vaccine.

To my new fans in Philly, I promise y'all that it will be worth the wait seeing me in Eagles green. Fly, Eagles, Fly!"

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In need of more speed at the receiver position, the Eagles acquired Goodwin from the San Francisco 49ers in April. He was part of the "track team" Philadelphia assembled this offseason along with draft picks and fellow burners Jalen Reagor, John Hightower and Quez Watkins.

The rookies will have to pick up some of the slack now, as the Eagles opted not to aggressively pursue wide receiver upgrades in free agency.

They do have a healthy DeSean Jackson returning. Jackson, 33, played in just three games last season due to an abdominal tear. Alshon Jeffery, meanwhile, continues to recover from a Lisfranc injury.

"He's doing extremely well," coach Doug Pederson said of Jeffery. "He's going to continue to work and get himself ready. I don't put timetables on players, but when he's ready, he's ready, and he'll be back out there on the field with us."

The Eagles would likely lean heavier on second-year player JJ Arcega-Whiteside if Jeffery is not available. Greg Ward is in line to get playing time from the slot.

Goodwin, 29, played his first four years with the Buffalo Bills before joining the Niners in 2017. His first year in San Francisco was his best as a pro, as he caught 56 balls for 962 yards.

Dealing with knee and foot issues last season, he played in nine games and had 12 catches for 186 yards.