Almost nine months after tearing an ACL in his knee, Tampa Bay wide receiver Chris Godwin is expected to be ready for the season opener against Dallas on Thursday, Sept. 11, according to two people within the organization.
Godwin has not played in the preseason and was only cleared last week to return to practice. Even with those constraints, the coaching staff has been planning for Godwin to return to action. Godwin has been wearing a yellow jersey in practice so that defenders know not to hit him.
Godwin suffered the injury on Dec. 19 and missed the final three games of the season. He finished the season with a career-high 98 catches and signed a three-year, $60 million contract in the offseason despite the injury. Godwin is considered a favorite of quarterback Tom Brady and figures to be even more important this season if the Tampa Bay offensive line regresses, as some people expect.
The Bucs offensive line has lost all three interior starters, including a season-ending knee injury to center Ryan Jensen in camp. As a result, the Bucs offense may rely on more quick passes and short routes, an area where Godwin excels.
Chris Godwin’s return is akin to the 2012 return of running back Adrian Peterson. He came back from an ACL injury in less than nine months to rush for more than 2,000 yards and become the NFL Most Valuable Player.