Marquise Goodwin

49ers WR Marquise Goodwin opens up about how tragedy changed his perspective on football

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USATSI

49ers WR Marquise Goodwin opens up about how tragedy changed his perspective on football

SANTA CLARA -- Marquise Goodwin’s first season with the 49ers got off to a rough start.

But when he endured something in life far worse than a couple of dropped passes, he said his outlook was forever changed.

Just hours before the 49ers’ Nov. 12 game against the New York Giants, Goodwin and his wife, Morgan, experienced the death of their baby boy due to complications during pregnancy.

Goodwin played that day, and caught an 88-yard touchdown pass from C.J. Beathard in the 49ers’ first victory of the season. Goodwin said his perspective on his profession changed that day.

“When I went through that tragedy, my wife and I, it taught me to just not focus on the negativity,” Goodwin said on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “Focus on the things I do have in my life and the things I can control and the things that can help my legacy moving forward.

“When something like that happens, it teaches you to not take the good times, the happy times, for granted.”

Goodwin had key dropped passes in the 49ers’ first two games of the season against Carolina and Seattle. Those plays clearly had an impact on him. He said he received support from Pierre Garçon, Aldrick Robinson and other teammates. Hall of Famer Jerry Rice even reached out to offer encouraging words.

“It’s kind of hard to move past something like that, especially because I didn’t have too many opportunities before that, coming from Buffalo, and there were a lot of high hopes coming into this organization,” Goodwin said.

“When I had my first drop. . . I thought it was the end of the world because this fan base didn’t know me from Adam at this point.”

In his first nine games with the 49ers, Goodwin caught 22 passes for 417 yards and no touchdowns. In his final seven games, beginning that day against the Giants at Levi’s Stadium, he registered 34 receptions for 545 yards and two touchdowns.

Goodwin was open about dealing with the tragedy, even taking part in a conference call with Bay Area reporters during the ensuing bye week. He hoped his story could help others coping with similar experiences. He also received an outpouring of support from the public.

“That will never fade for me, for all the people who showed their love and showed their support, that means so much to me and definitely means so much to my wife, as well,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin was voted as the winner of the Len Eshmont Award for the 49ers player who best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous spirit of Eshmont, an original member of the organization. He also was voted as the NFL-wide winner of the George Halas Award, which is presented to the NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed.

Goodwin has a good role model when it comes to overcoming adversity. His sister, Deja, was born with cerebral palsy and was not expected to live more than seven months. In September, she will turn 27.

“I’ve been humbled by having her around, never walking a day in her life, and me being a dual-sport professional athlete,” said Goodwin, who competed in the 2012 Olympics in the long jump.

“I’m blessed beyond measure. To be able to share these experiences with my sister, somebody’s who’s never walked a day in her life. It means a lot to me because I’m not only representing myself, but I’m representing her in many different lights.”

The 49ers in March signed Goodwin to a three-year, $18.85 million contract extension through the 2021 season. His family spent most of his early years in Section 8 housing in Texas. He used some of the money from his new contract to surprise his mother and sister with a new house near where he lives in Dallas.

49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin wins the George Halas Award

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49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin wins the George Halas Award

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin was recognized nationally Wednesday morning for his breakout season while dealing with personal tragedy.

Goodwin was announced as the winner of the George Halas Award, which the Pro Football Writers of America gives to NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed.

Goodwin and his wife, Morgan, dealt with the death of their baby boy from complications during pregnancy in October. Just hours later, Goodwin joined his teammates at Levi’s Stadium. His 83-yard touchdown reception led the 49ers to a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants. It was the 49ers’ first victory of the season.

He left the stadium immediately following the game to rejoin his wife, and later reached out to reporters via a conference call during the bye week to speak at length about his family’s ordeal.

“We do have a lot of people that are following us through our journey,” Goodwin said. “So we can maybe help people who’ve dealt with similar things that we have gone through or learn things from people who’ve been through our situation.”

In December, Goodwin’s biological father died. That week, Goodwin caught a career-high 10 passes for 114 yards in the 49ers’ 25-23 victory over the Tennessee Titans.

“It’s just been a lot, but I really didn’t let the outside negative energy affect how I play, how I approach this game or how I come to work each day,” Goodwin said. “I just kind of stayed positive and kept my mind fresh, and I relied on God to bring me through all of the situations that I’ve been through.”

Goodwin had a breakout season on the field, catching 56 passes for 962 yards and was a huge contributor to the 49ers’ season-ending five-game winning streak. He likely would have reached the 1,000-yard mark if not for a serious concussion he sustained in the season finale against the Los Angeles Rams.

Goodwin was also named the winner of the Len Eshmont Award. The honor is given annually to the 49ers player who best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous qualities of Eshmont, a former 49ers running back who died in 1957.

The 49ers rewarded Goodwin, 27, with a three year, $18.85 million contract extension in March.

Goodwin is the 50th Halas Award winner and the fifth 49ers player to win the award, joining Jimmy Johnson (1972), Joe Montana (1988 and ’94), Bryant Young (2000) and Garrison Hearst (2002).

49ers take advantage of window that provides exclusive negotiating rights

49ers take advantage of window that provides exclusive negotiating rights

The 49ers are not expected to be nearly as active next week in free agency as a year ago when John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan pieced together a roster that was left in complete shambles.

But the 49ers have been far more active in the weeks leading up to the opening of the new league year.

The 49ers took advantage of the exclusive negotiating rights with their own scheduled free agents to reach contract extensions with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, center Daniel Kilgore, defensive end Cassius Marsh, offensive tackle Garry Gilliam and linebacker Mark Nzeocha.

On Thursday, the 49ers got a head start on next offseason with a three-year extension for wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, who was scheduled to enter the second season of the two-year contract he signed on the first day of 2017 free agency.

Since the end of last season, the 49ers have signed six of their own players to contract extensions. Only four other teams have retained multiple players on new deals: Washington (3), Carolina (2), New England (2) and Pittsburgh (2).

Lynch described the 49ers’ plan this offseason as “aggressively prudent.” At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, he spoke about identifying the right fits for the team in free agency -- finding players that fit the long-term plan in salary structure, scheme and character.

Goodwin is a perfect example of a player who came to the 49ers as a projection of what how he could fit into Shanahan’s offense, then proved himself on and off the field.

“From the minute Marquise joined our team, he has shown us everything we want to see in a 49er,” Lynch said in a statement to announce Goodwin’s new deal, which carries through the 2021 season.

“He leads by example with a tremendous work ethic, a trait that helped him expand his repertoire as a football player and post his most successful season as a pro last year. Marquise earned this extension by coming in every day focused on doing his job and, as a result, he made himself and his teammates better.”

49ERS SCHEDULED UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
RB Carlos Hyde
S Eric Reid
DL Tank Carradine
CB Dontae Johnson
G Brandon Fusco
LB Brock Coyle
DE Aaron Lynch
TE Logan Paulsen
DL Leger Douzable
CB Leon Hall
WR Louis Murphy
DL Chris Jones
CB Asa Jackson
C Tim Barnes
DB Antone Exum
RB Raheem Mostert (exclusive rights)