The San Francisco 49ers announced their annual Ed Block Courage Award winner, and center Jonathan Goodwin drew the honor. Each NFL team votes on the award, and the 32 winners are honored in Baltimore next spring. The award given annually to the player that exemplifies a commitment to sportsmanship and courage.
This is Goodwin's first such award. It's pretty fitting as he apparently has never gotten a personal foul penalty, and also has never been fined in his NFL career. We often hear stories about the missteps of professional athletes, but Goodwin has been the guy who does things the right away. Check out this feature Eric Branch wrote about Goodwin back in January after the NFC title game.
Goodwin is currently in the final year of his contract with the 49ers, having taken a $1.2 million pay cut earlier in the offseason. Based on his comments to the media earlier today, it sounds like Goodwin is not sure if he'll be back with the 49ers on a new contract. He made some references to considering retirement, but his comments also seemed to raise the issue of what kind of offers will be out there.
If the 49ers can win the Super Bowl this year, it would provide a good opportunity for Goodwin to retire on top. As Cam Inman pointed out, Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk walked away after a Super Bowl win, even though he likely still could contribute in the NFL.
Greg Roman was asked about Goodwin winning the award, and he had an interesting comment:
C Jonathan Goodwin won the Ed Block Award for this team. What makes him such a worthy recipient in terms of the sportsmanship and courage aspect?
"I think a lot of different things. I think Jonathan's had a long and successful career and he wanted to come back this year and take another run at it. I think day-in, day-out, I think he's the cement in the offensive line that we all count on, not only during the game and practice, but in meetings and whatnot as well. So, I think he just generates so much respect amongst his teammates and coaches that I definitely think that's a great honor and I think he's a very, very deserving recipient."
He mentioned Goodwin "wanted to come back this year and take another run at it." When the team discussed a pay cut with him, maybe he was thinking about retirement? It's interesting to consider. The 49ers would seem to be grooming Daniel Kilgore for the center role of the future. We'll find out after this season exactly what the plan is with Kilgore. We won't see the NFL Draft until May, so it will take a few months to get a real handle on the situation.