Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Marquise Goodwin is opting out of the 2020 NFL season amid league-wide coronavirus fears because he wants to stay with his five-month-old daughter, Marae, and wife, Morgan, who battled through a series miscarriages in recent years while he was away playing football.
In an essay posted on social media, Goodwin, who was traded to Philadelphia over the off-season, explained that this time, he’s refusing to leave his wife’s side.
‘Three years ago, I made a decision that affected my whole life,’ wrote the 29-year-old. ‘I [chose] to leave my wife at the hospital [to play in a football game] after [she prematurely gave birth to our first baby boy due to an incompetent cervix] which resulted in a fatality.
‘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,’ explained Goodwin, who was a member of the San Francisco 49ers at the time.
Morgan, a former hurdling champion at the University of Texas, was without her husband as their boy died just hours before his 49ers played the New York Giants.
A year later, while she was expecting twins, there was another tragedy.
‘The following year in the same month, same week, our lives took another traumatic turn,’ he continued. ‘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.’
‘After much prayer and discussion, I told our team GM [John Lynch] 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,’ Goodwin wrote. ‘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.’
The couple finally became parents on February 19 at 7:48am, when baby Marae was born.
‘SHE is the reason I am opting out for this season,’ Goodwin explained. ‘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!’
NFL training camps opened Tuesday, but the biggest story was about players choosing to sit out the 2020 season amid coronavirus fears.
Any player who decides not to play this season will get a $150,000 stipend if it is a voluntary move, and $350,000 if it is for pre-existing medical reasons.
Opting out were several key members of the New England Patriots: linebacker Dont’a Hightower, a defensive leader; safety Patrick Chung; offensive tackle Marcus Cannon; running back Brandon Bolden; and fullback Dan Vitale. Chung’s decision was confirmed by a person familiar with the situation who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because it had not been announced.
Defensive tackles Star Lotulelei of Buffalo and Kyle Peko of Denver, Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Vikings defensive tackle Michael Pierce, and Ravens kick returner De´Anthony Thomas also have opted out.
Goodwin was a member of the NFC Champion 49ers last season, but his 2020 campaign was derailed by injuries before Super Bowl LIV.
The former track star was traded to Philadelphia for a sixth-round pick over the off-season.