Marquise Goodwin, his wife bulled through 2 unfathomable years to get this Seahawks chance

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Marquise Goodwin has a cherished friend on the Seahawks. Their bond is tighter than most NFL teammates.

Quandre Diggs has been with Goodwin and his wife from college-dorm life, into the NFL — and through devastating tragedies.

“We sit by each other on the bench, and we (are) just talking, just chopping it up,” Diggs, Seattle’s Pro Bowl safety, said of his “super-close” friend from back home in Texas.

“You just get excited for people that you really love and care about.”

Love is what’s gotten the 31-year-old Goodwin here.

The veteran wide receiver and former U.S. Olympian long jumper is in his first season with the Seahawks. Goodwin had just six catches in his first six games. Then he emerged last weekend with only the second two-touchdown game in his 10-year NFL career.

It was timely. It came the afternoon DK Metcalf left on a cart in the first half with a patellar-tendon injury to his left knee. Metcalf is unlikely to play Sunday when the surprising, first-place Seahawks (4-3) host the New York Giants (6-1) at Lumen Field.

Enter Goodwin. He has joined Tyler Lockett with top status for quarterback Geno Smith in Seattle’s offense.

Goodwin has had top status with Diggs for more than 11 years.

They met at the University of Texas. Goodwin was a junior when Diggs arrived on campus as a freshman in 2011. Diggs is from Angleton, Texas, about an hour’s drive south of Houston. Goodwin grew up in Lubbock. He cared there for his younger sister Deja, who has cerebral palsy.

Goodwin and Diggs were teammates on the Longhorns football team. Diggs, Goodwin and Goodwin’s girlfriend Morgan Snow hung out in the same dorm together at UT. Goodwin was also a Longhorns track long jumper who later became a U.S. Olympian. Snow was also on the track team at Texas, as a nine-time All-American Longhorns sprinter and hurdler.

“Yeah, I know Morgan,” Diggs said with a smile Wednesday of Goodwin’s now-wife. “We are really, really good friends. I’ve been around those guys. We all were in the dorms, and we all grew up and we all just have been around each other since then.

“You just get excited for people that you really love and care about.

“He’s one of those people that I’ve always admired him, just because his dedication to football, track, being a dad.”

Being a dad has been the hardest thing Goodwin has ever done.

Marquise and Morgan have three, heart-shaped urns that carry the ashes of the three babies they lost to miscarriages.

Morgan and Marquise Goodwin have endured through their love Seahawks teammate Quandre Diggs saw when all three were hanging out in the dorms at the University of Texas.
Morgan and Marquise Goodwin have endured through their love Seahawks teammate Quandre Diggs saw when all three were hanging out in the dorms at the University of Texas.

Marquise Goodwin’s perspective

On Nov. 12, 2017, Morgan and Marquise lost their prematurely newborn son to complications at birth. It was 4 a.m. on a game day for Goodwin and his then 0-9 49ers.

About 10 hours after Goodwin held their tiny son’s little hand they were going to name Marquise Jr. wrapped around his finger, the receiver caught an 83-yard touchdown pass.

When he got to the end zone, he got on one knee and prayed. Then he fell to both knees and wept, helmet facemask-first into the grass.

Three years later, in a video he posted on YouTube explaining why he was opting out of the 2020 NFL season during the coronavirus pandemic, Goodwin said he regretted playing that game.

“Three years ago, I made a decision that affected my whole life,” Goodwin said in the video. “I chose to leave my wife at the hospital after prematurely birthing our first baby due to 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.”

That 2017 season ended up being the best year of Goodwin’s career. He had 56 catches for 956 yards that season for San Francisco. He signed a $19.25 million, three-year extension with the 49ers the following spring.

But that was at a personal cost only Goodwin knows.

Grieving Marquise Goodwin kneels before playing for his San Francisco 49ers against the New York Giants Nov. 12, 2017. It was hours after he and his wife lost their first child to a miscarriage.
Grieving Marquise Goodwin kneels before playing for his San Francisco 49ers against the New York Giants Nov. 12, 2017. It was hours after he and his wife lost their first child to a miscarriage.

Months after the miscarriage Morgan was pregnant again, with twins. In November 2018, just after the one-year anniversary of losing their first child, Morgan was 19 weeks pregnant.

She went into pre-term labor. After days of contractions and bed rest, she lost their unborn twin boys.

Goodwin left the 49ers. He skipped their next games at Tampa Bay and Seattle to stay by his wife’s side.

Morgan and Marquise continued attempting to start a family. In February 2020, they did. Morgan had their daughter Marae. She’s now 2 1/2.

In May, they welcomed a son. His name is Marquise Derell Goodwin Jr.

“He’s five months old,” Goodwin said, proudly, at his locker before practice Thursday.

How did Goodwin and his wife do it? How did they endure not one or two but three of most devastating blows imaginable, and come out on the other side? How are they now doting parents, with him emerging in a renewal of his NFL career, with Seattle?

“I got through the journey just by God, honestly,” Goodwin said.

“Coming into fatherhood taught me to be patient and to really relish the moment. Like, not think too far ahead, not focus on stuff in the past and really be in the moment.”

That appreciation for the now, today’s practice, this morning’s diaper change, carries into his professional career.

“I kind of brought that to football, especially in the last few years after I became a parent,” Goodwin said. “Just being where my feet are and focusing on the time now, as opposed to mishaps or even good stuff that has happened in the past.

“It was the past. And I can’t think too far ahead.”

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (11) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (11) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

His path to Seattle

Goodwin took 2020 off from football. It was his opt-out year during the coronavirus pandemic, to be home with Morgan and their baby for her first months. He was with Philadelphia then but never played for the Eagles.

Buffalo drafted him in 2013; he played his first four pro seasons for the Bills.

He had 20 catches and one touchdown on 40 targets in 14 game in his only year with the Chicago Bears last season. The Seahawks signed him for this season for his speed, experience — and perseverance.

“He is a really well-balanced guy in just how he comes across,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.

“He has a makeup that he can handle a lot. I think he has an awareness to him...that he could deal with issues that other people might otherwise struggle with.”

Losing Metcalf, their $70 million receiver, for any time is obviously a sizable Seahawks matter. But Smith has formed a quick trust with Goodwin, which could mitigate Metcalf being out.

That trust showed last weekend in Seattle’s 37-23 victory at the Los Angeles Chargers.

On a second and 14 from the Chargers 20-yard line, offensive coordinator Shane Waldron called a play that had Goodwin running a shorter, comeback route back toward Smith. But before the snap, Smith changed the plan.

“’Quise, run a go,” the quarterback told Goodwin.

Goodwin sprinted at Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel, Jr. with an inside veer, as if he was about to run a deep post route to the center of the field. Samuel overplayed that inside. Goodwin then drifted outside instead while continuing to sprint past the cornerback. Smith’s throw was easily over the defender to the open Goodwin for a 20-yard touchdown and the game’s first score.

The Seahawks never trailed and weren’t even tied in the game after that.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (11) celebrates with quarterback Geno Smith, right, after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (11) celebrates with quarterback Geno Smith, right, after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Seahawks wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal was Goodwin’s position coach in Buffalo for the 2015 and ‘16 seasons. Lal gave the validation for Carroll and the Seahawks to sign Goodwin to be Seattle’s third receiver behind Metcalf and Lockett.

“I always liked the heck out of him,” Carroll said. “We were thinking of drafting him way back when. Sanjay validated that he is still really, really fast. He can fly. I don’t think he has lost any speed. He is as fast as anybody that we have on the field.

“He (Lal) vouched for him as a teammate, a guy that was dedicated to the little things, the discipline of it, that he would be good with the younger players. ...I don’t want to ever turn away guys that run that fast, if we give them a chance. He’s one of the reasons that I say to you, when I said this, that this was the fastest (team) that we have ever been. He’s one of those guys that makes us that way.”

Diggs and Goodwin as parents

Goodwin and Diggs remained close as their NFL career separated them, Diggs to Detroit, Goodwin to Buffalo, San Francisco and Chicago. They live near each other in Austin, near their University of Texas campus.

This past offseason Diggs was bringing his daughter to Goodwin’s house for a birthday party for Marae. Diggs, one month removed from surgery to repair the broken leg he got in Seattle’s 2021 season finale at Arizona, fell getting out of his car in Goodwin’s driveway.

“I was on crutches, and I freaking fell at his house and scarred up my dang arm,” Diggs said. “He was like, ‘Bro, is that fresh blood?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I just fell getting out the car.’”

Diggs marvels at how the Goodwins have bulled through to where they are now, hosting parties for their toddler and now having their season-long reunion in Seattle.

“They’re just resilient people, both of them,” Diggs said. “Super resilient. Tough situations and they both fought through it.

“I know they still have scars...it’s just the positive mindset that they always continue to have, the care that they have for people.

“So it’s not just like this is a teammate. This is really good family, friends. And they have two beautiful kids now. You see those type of things and it excites you.

“You see my daughter playing with his daughter — and it’s just crazy that our kids are growing up together living in Austin and being around.”