Marquise Goodwin hopes heartbreak of losing son helps others
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The baby’s tiny left hand touches a single finger on the hand of his father, 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin.
It’s a heartbreaking photo shared by the player on Instagram making public the sad news that he and wife Morgan had lost their baby prematurely early Sunday.
Somehow, with his wife’s urging and his faith carrying him through each minute, step and snap, Goodwin played in San Francisco’s first win of the season only hours after the death of his son because of what Goodwin called “complications” that led to an unexpected early delivery.
After the couple prayed, Morgan talked him into taking the field that afternoon. And Goodwin decided to share what he was going through so no questions surfaced about what was wrong.
“I mentally and physically was not prepared to play in the game at all,” Goodwin said on a conference call Tuesday, speaking from home in Texas where he is with family during the team’s bye week. “I really didn’t even practice that week, I was just going through a lot and just trying to get my body rested from the week before and the week before that. Coming in the game, I wasn’t really in it, because I had just lost my baby.”
Goodwin caught an 83-yard touchdown pass from C.J. Beathard in the Niners’ 31-21 victory over the Giants at Levi’s Stadium. When he scored in the second quarter, Goodwin blew a kiss to the sky as he approached the end zone, then went to his knees with hands held in prayer before looking down at his upraised palms with the football still tucked into his left forearm. Then he placed his head on the grass.
“All the pain that I was feeling at that time just came over me at once,” he said. “It wasn’t something that was planned or anything. If that had been anybody who had to go through that if you had lost something that you wanted more than anything, something that you expected because you could see it without seeing it, you would know how I felt in that situation.”
He credited Morgan’s strength with pushing him out onto that field when she easily could have said no.
“I guess she felt that God moved her to allow me to go play and she encouraged me. She raised my spirits up and helped get ready for the game,” he said. “That’s what’s so cool about the situation is my wife, how supportive she is and how encouraging she is, all these great things that she does for me to help me go out there and play the way I did. I think it speaks more about her character than mine.”
Even coach Kyle Shanahan said he wouldn’t have blamed Goodwin for sitting this one out.
A third-round draft pick taken 78th overall by the Bills out of Texas in 2013, he’s in his first season with the 49ers following four years in Buffalo after signing a two-year contract in March.
He decided that being forthcoming about what had happened was the best option.
“It would have made it (out publicly) anyway so why not put it out there so I could kind of narrate my own story instead of letting somebody else do it or people have these assumptions,” Goodwin said. “Because my wife and I had posted that we were pregnant weeks ago, or months ago, and had we abruptly stopped and they noticed that she wasn’t pregnant anymore it would have raised a lot of eyebrows and questions.”
Overwhelmed with emotion, Goodwin went straight from the hospital to the team hotel to check in before the game to ride the bus to the stadium. He hadn’t showered, was still wearing sweats, sharing with only a handful of teammates what the couple was enduring.
Goodwin also made a key block on another scoring play, when he laid out a defensive back and allowed Garrett Celek to get into the end zone.
Later that night, he announced the loss of his baby.
Now, Goodwin hopes he and Morgan — and their baby — can uplift others who might be going through the same thing.
“It’s been a tremendous amount of support, people of all different communities. Morgan and I appreciate all the love,” Goodwin said. “I didn’t realize sharing our journey with this baby would gain so many people. We’ve met a lot of people that are following us through our journeys so we can maybe help people who have dealt with similar things that we have gone through or learn things from people who have been through our situation.”
NOTES: San Francisco signed OL Cameron Hunt to the practice squad.