The 49ers expected big things from Marquise Goodwin this season.
Yet in Game 1, the team’s best wide receiver in 2017 took a hit to his leg against the Vikings and was knocked out of the game. Goodwin also didn’t play in Week 2 in the win over the Lions because of that deep thigh bruise.
It’s been a big loss for the San Francisco offense. Goodwin, a former Olympian and University of Texas track standout, has rare speed and the ability to stretch defenses. In his breakout season last year, Goodwin – who had four mostly unproductive seasons in Buffalo before signing with the Niners – had career highs in catches (56), yards (962), yards per reception (17.2) and caught two touchdown passes, including one of 83 yards. His 17.2 per-catch average ranked fourth in the NFL among all receivers with 25 or more receptions.
Late last season, Goodwin became quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s favorite receiver. This offseason, the Niners backed up their faith in him by giving him an extension through the 2021 season that could be worth as much as $20.3 million.
General manager John Lynch said he and the entire organization were impressed with Goodwin’s work ethic and talent, adding that Goodwin “made himself and his teammates better.”
Now, as the 1-1 49ers head into a game Sunday in Kansas City against the 2-0 Chiefs, Goodwin is at least back on the field. He returned to practice Wednesday, and the hope is he can be ready to play Sunday. But, he was listed as a limited participant. His status will be determined this weekend.
Yet Goodwin was able to engage in a little friendly banter with the media in regards to Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill, Kansas City’s swift, dynamic playmaker who is averaging 22 yards per reception with three TD catches through two games. Hill, according to the Sacramento Bee’s Chris Biderman, took a shot at 49ers running back Matt Breida, whose nickname is The Cheetah. Breida leads the NFL in rushing after two games and has a 66-yard TD run. But Hill told the Kansas City Star this week that, “There’s only one cheetah in the league, just know that (referring to himself). You can’t be a cheetah and run a 4.48 (40-yard dash), or whatever you run.”
Breida actually ran a 4.38 at his pro day. Hill ran a 4.25 at his pro day before being drafted by the Chiefs. Goodwin, meanwhile, ran a 4.27 at the NFL combine, one of the fastest times ever recorded at that annual gathering of talent. Goodwin in the past has called himself the fastest player in football, and the former sprinter and long jumper (who finished 10th at the London Olympics in 2012) has the Olympic rings tattooed on his left forearm.
So, on Wednesday when Goodwin was asked if he is faster than Hill, he had a quick response, pointing to his tattoo.
“I ain’t say nothing,” he said, smiling. “You take that wherever you want to take it.”
Certainly the 49ers want to see Goodwin on the field Sunday vs. the Chiefs. They’ll need every piece of their offense to keep up with the Kansas City offense that has churned out 38 points against the Chargers and 42 vs. the Steelers in consecutive victories, fueled by a passing attack led by first-year starting QB Patrick Mahomes.
Sunday’s game is set for kickoff at 10 a.m. PST.