WR Richard Goodman (Al Messerschmidt/Getty)
Rookie wide-out Richard Goodman does everything with passion. Whether it’s training, rehabbing or making career decisions, he does everything with the enthusiasm of a Pop Warner player. As he reveals in this exclusive interview, that enthusiasm will be the key to his success in San Diego.
Richard Goodman knew he was likely to slip through the cracks of the NFL Draft. He missed the final six games of his senior season with a knee injury. He also missed the entire 2008 campaign with a broken fibula suffered late in the 2007 season. In all, he played just 14 games between 2007-2009, registering 47 catches for 539 yards and three scores during that stretch.
“It’s been a rollercoaster with me,” he said. “I get started working hard and being productive, then adversity happens. But I always keep a chip on my shoulder.”
He went to work immediately after his latest injury. First, there was the rehab process. Then, he went about showcasing himself for NFL teams. Finally, when it became clear he wasn’t going to be drafted, he began preparing himself for the biggest career choice of his life.
More than a dozen teams reached out to Goodman after the draft, but his mind was already made up. He had done his homework and knew San Diego would give him the best chance to make the active roster.
“First off, the Chargers hadn’t drafted any receivers, so that showed they had no commitment to any receivers out of the draft,” Goodman said. “I knew it would be a privilege to be part of any organization, but I felt like my chance of making the team in San Diego would be better.”
Goodman’s research went beyond following the Chargers on draft day. He spoke with Florida State receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey, who enjoyed a seven-year stint in the NFL (1991-1999). Dawsey told Goodman what to expect in his pursuit of a roster spot.
“I looked at San Diego’s depth chart and the way they did things,” Goodman said. “After talking to [Dawsey], he let me know the way things worked and how many guys are not going to play and other guys that need development and how many people they were putting on. We were checking the history on the style of offense and the way San Diego did things.”
It should come as no surprise Goodman took a vested interest in his football future. Always known for his passion, Goodman is a gym rat who is as enthusiastic about practice as he is the game. In short, he’s anti-Allen Iverson.
“Anything I do, whether it’s playing football or working out, lifting weights, studying for three or four hours, I do it with a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “I will always continue to get better and I love playing with passion.
“As a kid you always play with passion, then as you get older money gets involved. But I haven’t gotten away from that passion and wanting to be the best at what I do. Whether it’s being the strongest or fastest guy on the team, I will always play like it’s the Super Bowl.”
The Chargers may need some unexpected contributions from their receivers if they hope to make just the second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. Lead receiver Vincent Jackson remains at an impasse with the team and could hold out deep into the season. If that happens, it will open a spot on the back end of the Chargers’ receiving corps.
Goodman is doing everything to prepare for that opportunity. That includes consulting with San Diego’s veteran receivers -- the ones that are coming to work, at least.
“Buster Davis, Malcom Floyd, those guys are always giving me advice,” Goodman said. “They have open arms as far as anything they can help me with on the field or just telling me how to do things like approaching a defender or reading a coverage. Those guys have been doing a great job on and off the field of helping us [rookies] with everything.”
The more Goodman sees of San Diego’s veterans, the more he realizes he has a long way to go before he’s ready to make an impact in the Big Leagues. It is a daunting challenge, but one he’s yearning to tackle.
“I just need to be consistent in everything I do,” he said. “I’m looking at everything as positive and learning the playbook and doing whatever I can to be consistent. I’m playing faster every day and that’s the one thing coaches stress, going hard on every play and playing every play like it’s your last.”
As an undrafted rookie, any play could be Goodman’s last. It’s a frightening thought, but rather than running from it, he’s attacking it head-on…and with passion.
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