The Eagles’ new-look wide-receiver room just thinned out a little.
Veteran wide receiver Marquise Goodwin won’t play this season, exercising an opt out Tuesday because of concerns about the coronavirus. The opt out was made available by the NFL Players Association last week for those unwilling to risk catching the deadly virus.
Dozens of players, including several starters on the New England Patriots, have announced they will forgo this season.
The Eagles traded for Goodwin on the final day of April’s NFL Draft, which was underscored by the team’s effort to get faster on both sides of the ball. The team swapped sixth-round picks with the San Francisco 49ers to get Goodwin, who served as an extra deep threat capable of relieving DeSean Jackson or playing opposite him.
Instead, the Eagles will make plans without the 29-year-old from the University of Texas. Goodwin and his wife, Morgan Snow Goodwin, had a daughter this year. Before her birth, the family lost three children to pregnancy complications.
In a video posted on YouTube, Goodwin explained that his decision was made with his family’s losses in mind. He explained that in 2017, he left his wife in labor at the hospital to play in a 49ers game. The family lost the child.
The following year, his wife had complications while pregnant with twin boys. Goodwin went home and was there when the family lost them.
“[My daughter] is the reason I’m opting out for the season,” Goodwin said. “After choosing football so many times, I feel like I’m inclined to make the right decision by finally choosing my family first.
“I won’t take the chance of experiencing another loss because of my selfish decision-making. I can’t do it. It’s not something I’m willing to live with, therefore I’ve chosen to opt out only for this season, or until medical professionals across the world all agree that the world is a safe environment for everyone and not just NFL players.”
Goodwin would have been entering his eighth season in the league, spending the last three with the 49ers. He has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career, playing only one full season. His best year came in 2017, when he caught 56 passes for 962 yards and averaged 17.2 yards per catch.
Last year, Goodwin fell on the 49ers’ depth chart, caught just 12 passes for 186 yards, and finished the season on injured reserve because of problems with his knee and foot.
Flaws and all, it’s clear why the Eagles took a flyer on the 5-foot-9 wideout. When healthy, he’s got elite speed, proven by the 4.27 yard 40-yard dash he ran at the 2013 NFL scouting combine. The Eagles had the 22nd-fastest team in the NFL last season, according to Next Gen Stats. The two highest-ranked teams, the Kansas City Chiefs and 49ers, made it to Super Bowl LIV.
The Eagles efforts to improve those numbers left them with a slew of new faces at receiver this training camp. The team still has four rookies at the position, including first-round pick Jalen Reagor.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Monday he feels safe at the NovaCare Complex and commended the NFL’s testing protocols.
“When you’re here, you get tested in the morning, you have a screening process that you have to go through to get into the building, wearing masks in the building, everywhere we go. I feel extremely safe,” Pederson said. “This is our bubble right here at NovaCare. I can’t control everything. We can’t control everything. There probably are going to be some things that come up down the road, but right now, I feel extremely safe, and this is a great environment for our players to succeed in.”