Sat, 22 Jan 2022

Where Are They Now: Jonathan Goodwin

New York Jets
26 Nov 2021, 00:56 GMT+10

Catch Up with the the 2002 Draft Pick from Michigan Jim Gehman

Only three of the 261 chosen in the 2002 NFL Draft, including the other 36 offensive linemen, would play in the league longer than Jonathan Goodwin, who was selected by the Jets in the fifth round.

"Naturally, being drafted, you're excited. Doug Marrone, who ended being my line coach with the Jets actually worked me out at my Pro Day. So I wasn't completely shocked to be drafted by the Jets. But I had never been to New York, so there was a lot of excitement knowing that I was headed to the big city," Goodwin said.

"And looking at the roster and seeing guys like Kevin Mawae, Randy Thomas, Jason Fabini, Dave Szott, and Jumbo Elliott, I knew I was going to a place where I would have a lot of older guys I would get to learn from. As a young college lineman coming into the NFL, you think you know a lot, but getting to see those guys, you quickly realize that you don't know nearly as much as you think you do.

"So I look at it as I was blessed and fortunate to end up in a place like that, that had so many veteran linemen that had been around and knew how to play the game. All those guys were willing to share knowledge."

Contributing on special teams and as a backup lineman during his first three seasons, Goodwin became the starting left guard in 2005.

"My first two years, I played some, but I did struggle some at times. And then my third year, I think that's when things started to click for me and I started to play well," Goodwin said. "But we still had guys like Kevin (Mawae), and then Brandon (Moore) came in and played well. So we had deserving guys.

"And honestly, as a player, when you start playing well, you want to play. But it was a situation, for the most part, where I understood, because the guys playing in front of me were great players. I was just fortunate to continue to get better and wait my time until I got my chance. I knew, eventually, that day would come.

"I started three games (in 2004), so I had a little taste of it. But then to finally start and know that you're going to be playing every week, it was good to get that experience in. I could truly see what it was like."

As a starting guard during his final two seasons at Michigan, playing in front of a huge crowd was and wasn't a new experience for Goodwin.

"The Meadowlands was obviously smaller in capacity, but compared to Michigan Stadium, the fans were closer to the field and seemed more on top of you. It was a place where I quickly learned it was better to be the home team than the visiting team," he laughed.

"The Jet fans were always passionate about their team and were always supportive, but at the same time, they would let us know if they weren't too happy. So that was one thing that stood out about being in New York and coming from a place like Michigan, where the home fans rarely ever let you know if they were unhappy with you."

With New York for four seasons, 2002-05, what are among Goodwin's fondest memories from his time with the Jets?

"Getting my first start in 2004 against the 49ers, we were behind at halftime, and I was playing okay, but had some plays here and there I wanted back," he said. "And Kevin and those guys just telling me, 'Look, just go and have a great second half.' That's one thing that definitely stands out (from the Jets' 22-14 win).

"And then maybe a week or so later, I got to start again. We played the Dolphins on Monday night, and I think we ran for over 200 yards. [275] That was a good personal memory. And then teamwise, my rookie year, we started 2-4, and then came back and won the division. And we beat the Colts, 41-0, in the playoffs. So those are definitely things that stand out to me as some of my best memories as a Jet."

Goodwin would go on to make more memories in the NFL. Playing center for six seasons with New Orleans, in 2009, he earned a Pro Bowl spot and helped the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV.

He also played center for three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. A 13-year career, what was the key to his longevity?

"Taking care of my body, doing the right things off the field. Coming into a locker room with some veteran guys who did those things, that was valuable for me to see. So I learned quickly that if you take care of your body, you've got a chance to play for a while if you're good enough," Goodwin said.

"I tell people all the time, as a kid coming out of college, I knew I had a chance to play in the NFL. And I wanted to play in the NFL. But could I honestly say that I expected to play 13 years? No. So it's definitely something I'm proud of."

Making their home in suburban Charlotte, North Carolina, Goodwin and his wife, Alnessa, have four children: Channing, Jace, Kade and Zailey.

They own a franchise salon suite, Image Studios 360. "My wife, she handles everything when it comes to this," Goodwin said. "And then for the most part, I help out with the kids at home, getting them to sporting events and things like that.

"Every now and then, I volunteer coach in rec leagues. But I'm taking it easy and just trying to enjoy my kids until they grow up and get out of the house themselves."

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