How Buffalo Bills Rookie Marquise Goodwin Turned Signing Contenders into Therapy

October 13, 2013

Goodwin Contenders 4

Buffalo Bills rookie receiver Marquise Goodwin found out firsthand recently something that passionate collectors have known for more than 20 years: Contenders Football can cure what ails you. As is his custom, Goodwin — the former University of Texas speedster and the fastest player clocked at the 2013 NFL Combine — wasted no time in making an impact on the field with a ridiculously swift 107-yard kick-return touchdown in Buffalo’s first preseason game.

The spectacular special-teams play offered an electricity-quick glimpse of Goodwin’s otherworldly potential, raising hopes and dropping jaws all over Western New York. But just like that, during Buffalo’s season-opening loss to the New England Patriots, the man dubbed “Flash Goodwin” fractured his right hand.

Goodwin’s right hand, of course, happens to be his signing hand — which spelled potential problems for that shipment of 2013 Contenders Football cards addressed to Goodwin that arrived at Buffalo Bills headquarters a few weeks back. But a funny thing happened on the way to getting his hands on those cards: It was suggested by a member of the Buffalo Bills’ training staff helping Goodwin open his Panini America package that signing the Contenders cards inside it might be just what the doctor ordered for Goodwin’s healing hand.

“He saw the box because I had taken it to rehab and he opened it for me,” Goodwin said in a phone interview with The Knight’s Lance recently. “He said, ‘You know, signing those might be good therapy for the hand and help strengthen it back up. He was right. It’s definitely been good for me.

“And the cards are nice. For real. I wish I had some for myself to keep.”

Over the course of a few days, the former Olympic sprinter autographed a few hundred cards at a time until he was done. Although it was Goodwin’s first signing session since breaking the hand, it didn’t take long to knock the rust off. In true Goodwin form, he returned his Contenders autographs to Panini America HQ faster than any other player.

“It was a little awkward in the beginning because my hand was a little stiff,” he said. “But after that it didn’t really hinder me from being able to sign the autographs. It’s still the exact same signature. It might even be better.”

Also better are Goodwin’s chances to return to action. He’s listed as probable on this week’s injury report and is expected to play later today against the Cincinnati Bengals. While signing autographs for Panini America provided unintentional rehab and a good way to pass the time, Goodwin’s anxious to get back on the field where he can make sure those autographs carry a premium.

Goodwin, who himself collects fellow Longhorn Eric Metcalf and receiving legend Jerry Rice, knows more big plays like the one he provided in that first preseason game will go a long way toward cementing his own collectibility.

“I’ve got to get a few more returns so fans will be a little more eager to collect my cards,” Goodwin said.