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Offseason | 2024

Goodwin gives major injury update, talks Zimmer


DALLAS — It unfortunately won't make national headlines, but the Dallas Cowboys' decision to agree to terms with CJ Goodwin on Thursday is as underrated a move as it is a valuable one. The longtime special teams ace joined fellow cornerback Jourdan Lewis in bucking the trend of Cowboys' players departing to join the Washington Commanders in a reunion with Dan Quinn.

But, more than that, he returns to help restabilize a special teams unit that took a big step backward in his absence — Goodwin having suffered a torn pectoral muscle in October that ended his 2023 season.

Having now officially signed his new deal, Goodwin then drove nearly 45 minutes to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Youth Works/Mercy Chefs in South Dallas, a charitable organization that specializes in feeding underprivileged youth and youth in natural disaster areas in Dallas and globally (e.g. the recent wildfires affecting the Texas panhandle).

He spoke to the importance of community service, and how it fuels him.

"With our platform, especially being the Dallas Cowboys, I feel it's our responsibility," said Goodwin, who also chairs the PeGa Foundation in West Virginia, his home state. "We have that responsibility to give back to the community, and it's an honor. We're very, very privileged to be a part of the Cowboys' organization, and to be able to give back."

It's this type of leadership and character that adds to his on-field abilities in making Goodwin one of the more valuable pieces on the entire roster, from any viewing angle.

As he enters his seventh season in Dallas, originally poached from the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad in 2018, Goodwin could barely contain his excitement when describing his feelings on his latest deal, as the team continues to show just how important he is to their success.

"It's a true blessing to be a part of the Cowboys," he said, wearing an ear-to-ear smile. "I was a Cowboys' fan growing up, and I'm living the dream. I've gotta pinch myself sometimes when I wake up. It's unbelievable."

But what of the aforementioned former teammates who have taken their talents to the Commanders? Well, Goodwin has a view on that as well and, no, it doesn't involve any sour grapes. He understands it's a business, one that always resolves itself on the field anyway.

To the latter point, a still-smiling Goodwin offered up his take on the exodus.

"Yeah, it's gonna be strange, a little bit, but they'll be our enemies at that time, yeah, but we'll talk to them after the game — after we beat them," said the veteran defensive back. "It's a part of the game."

Before he gets to that point, however, he'll need to get back to full health. The great news is he's not only expected to be ready this summer, as Goodwin explains, he'll be ready this spring.

"Oh yeah, I'm almost ready now," he said when asked if he'll escape the PUP (physically unable to perform) list for training camp. "I’ll be ready by OTAs, honestly. It was an unfortunate event, but it's an injury you can come back from, and I'm gonna come back from it even better.

"I'm looking forward to it."

As he works to get back on the field in the next several weeks, he'll do so under the eye of both special teams coordinator John "Bones" Fassel and newly-returned defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer — marking the fourth coordinator he'll learn under in Goodwin's time with the Cowboys.

It's well-known that Zimmer is a different breed of coach though, a Super Bowl-winner during the Cowboys' famed dynasty years who, while adapted a bit, is still very much an old-school ball coach.

Goodwin says that's precisely why he's the man for the job in 2024.

"I think he's gonna bring a sense of accountability," he said of Zimmer's addition. "I've heard about him, and I think he's gonna hold us accountable this year. And that's something that we need. As somebody who's been around [the league] for a while, [I know that] accountability is huge and I think that could be the thing that tips the scale."

And, needless to say, that's exactly what the re-signing of Goodwin also does for Fassel and what is one of the best special teams units in the NFL, when the former is in the mix:

Tip the scale back in the right direction.

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