Last offseason, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin was working his way back from an ACL tear suffered late in the 2021 campaign. This year, he's participating in the team's offseason program. According to Godwin, he's getting close to being back to the player he was before the injury.
"I think I'm very close to it. I feel like a lot of my explosion is coming back," Godwin said, according to PewterReport.com. "I feel very comfortable with the things that I'm working on. It feels really good to be able to have the opportunity to work on my skill development this offseason, as opposed to just working to rehab an injury."
Godwin got back in time for Week 1 last year, but sustained an injury early in the game and missed the next two weeks. Beginning in Week 4, he looked a lot like himself for the rest of the year. In 14 games, Godwin caught 101 of 139 passes thrown his way, for 988 yards and three touchdowns. That's a full-season pace of 123 catches for 1,200 yards -- right in line with the type of numbers Godwin produced pre-injury, if not better. (More receptions, but fewer yards per reception.)
The six-year veteran wideout credited rehabbing early in the offseason for his knee feeling a night and day difference between last year and this year.
"It was a night and day difference between last year and this year," Godwin said. "All this time last year, I was inside doing rehab on my own. Those were very long days, and you kind of watch out the window. It's like you're a kid that got in trouble, and you're watching all your friends outside, playing and having fun. To be out here now, it's a blessing. It was a lot of hard work.
There will likely also be a night and day difference between last year's offense and this year's, what with Tom Brady having moved on and Baker Mayfield looking likely to take over under center. Godwin's role in the slot made him the obvious top target for Brady, but Mayfield's size and skill set means he does not throw over the middle as often as his predecessor. It'll be interesting to see if the Bucs change how Godwin is used under new offensive coordinator Dave Canales, because as the team's most reliable target you'd want him to be as involved in the passing game as possible -- even if it means putting him in somewhat unfamiliar alignments.