Kyle Shanahan could tell Marquise Goodwin was in pain, but left the decision to play in his wide receiver’s hands.
The fact that Goodwin needed to play football at the moment was enough for the 49ers coach, so play he did. Goodwin’s good day on the field was a momentary reprieve from the fact he and his wife lost a son hours earlier because of complications with her pregnancy, but the emotions were obvious on and off the field.
“I know Marquise was hurting bad, real bad, and he will for a while and I know his wife will, too,” Shanahan said, via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. “I don’t know how sure he was right away. I think he was up alone throughout the night and then he got here.
“By the time I was able to talk to Marquise he was hurting but he was adamant he wanted to play, and that’s something as a coach you respect. You don’t want someone just to tell that to you because that’s what you want to hear as a coach. You want someone to tell it to you because they mean it. And you could tell ‘Quise meant it.”
Goodwin responded on the field with an 83-yard touchdown reception, and immediately blew a kiss to the sky before he hit his knees and was surrounded by teammates.
“For a guy to go through that, to have those emotions, to go the whole night before not sleeping very much and then to come out there and have some very pivotal plays in that game and make a huge difference, it says a lot about the guy,” Shanahan said. “And regardless of whether he played good or bad, the fact that he was out there and tried his hardest and tried to help us was the most important [thing].”
Goodwin left the stadium immediately after the game, and posted the news to his Instagram account, thanking people for their prayers. And he clearly felt it from his team, which gave him the space to make his own decision at such a traumatic time, and the support he needed during.