Godwin was having the best season of his career in 2021, and because of the type of player and person he is, nobody resented him for it.
He was three catches shy of his first 100-reception season and led the Bucs with 1,103 yards and five touchdowns.
Godwin was set to become a free agent again, and having been given the franchise player tag in 2021, he was poised for a big payday.
Then while trying to catch a pass from Brady in the middle of the field in what became a 9-0 loss to the Saints on Dec. 20, Godwin was struck on his right knee by New Orleans safety P.J. Williams. The breathtaking blow tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments of his right knee, ending his season.
But Godwin has made so much progress that the Bucs did not feel the need to place him on the PUP list by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
The same holds true for linebacker Lavonte David, who is recovering from a Lisfranc foot injury that he said limited him to about 60% in an NFC divisional playoff loss to the Rams.
Both players will be closely monitored, but the fact that neither had to begin training camp on the PUP list is an encouraging sign.
Last week, the Bucs placed cornerback Don Gardner and guard Sadarius Hutcherson on the PUP list shortly after reporting to camp.
The target for Godwin is the Bucs’ regular-season opener Sept. 11 at Dallas. The Bucs are pleased enough with his rehab progress that they are “hopeful” he could play against the Cowboys.
Despite Godwin’s injury, the Bucs were confident he would make a full recovery this season. They signed him to a three-year, $60 million extension after removing the franchise player tag.