Green Bay Packers: the difficulty that it takes to get to the National Football League can’t be put into words. The amount of self-discipline, hard work, and years of perfecting your craft, just to get an opportunity to play at the highest level can’t go unnoticed. That is the case for any player who earns a roster spot in the NFL, however, one Green Bay Packers running back had a story that stuck out just a little bit more.
Tyler Goodson’s Path To The NFL Was Full Of Setbacks And Triumphs
In an article by Zachary Jacobson, Tyler Goodson’s story to the NFL was told, and it’s a good one:
A high-ankle sprain coupled with turf toe signaled the end of Tyler Goodson’s junior campaign at North Gwinnett High School. Just one of those injuries — forget that Goodson was hindered by two of them at the same time — is essentially a death sentence for any skill position player, let alone a tailback whose legs are his foundation.
It was a disastrous, decisive blow dealt to an ascending player in the midst of a promising high school career. Or was it? Did it have to be?
For four games, Goodson rehabbed and watched helplessly from the sidelines. Not being at the epicenter of the offense became a foreign concept for him throughout high school and his ensuing collegiate path — simply watching the action unfold in front of him wasn’t going to become a theme. It couldn’t.
Remarkably, he returned to the lineup just in time to help his team traverse through their playoff run.
And that was the moment that Tyler’s parents, Maurice and Felicia, discovered the belief that their son — the eldest of three boys in the family — was just different. He wasn’t just back — he was back.
“I was like, ‘Man, he can do this at the next level,’ the college level at that time,” Maurice told Packer Report.
For the next four games, there was very little evidence to suggest Goodson was on the heels of two devastating injuries. He rushed for 898 yards and 14 touchdowns en route to a state championship — a last-second victory over Colquitt County in which Goodson tallied 75 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.
It was a fitting exclamation point on a season that was as strenuous as it was stellar for Goodson. Against Norcross on Sept. 8, he accumulated 245 yards and three touchdowns. Versus Marietta on Nov. 24, he fell just five yards shy of 300 with another three rushing scores to boot — a performance that fell in the midst of a three-game stretch in which he totaled 642 yards and seven touchdowns from scrimmage.
Goodson’s junior-year showcase was merely foreshadowing what was to come.
When Tyler Goodson Got “Pissed Off”
There was no invitation to lounge in the green room while waiting for his name to be called in Las Vegas, the location of the 2022 NFL Draft. There was no NFL Network camera crew hanging out in his home to document and televise the moment he receives a call from a general manager indicating that he was going to be that particular team’s selection. There was not even a moment where his name flashed on the bottom ticker as a late-round draft pick while Rich Eisen and co. banter with each other just to fill air time.
Tyler went undrafted.
“He was pissed off, man. He couldn’t understand it,” said Maurice. “But then he was like, it is what it is. It’s time to go to work, even more so.”
On the night of April 30, after all seven rounds had concluded and teams began the process of acquiring undrafted talent, Tyler was picked up by the Green Bay Packers.
This meant two things: he was officially on an NFL roster and, for the first time in a long time, he officially wasn’t going to be the guy. The Packers had Aaron Jones at the forefront after amassing nearly 1,200 yards from scrimmage in 2021 and AJ Dillon, a second-round pick two years prior to Tyler’s arrival, was still in a prominent backfield role. Dillon was essentially the 1B to Jones’ 1A.
The Packers also spent a seventh-round pick on Kylin Hill in the spring of 2021, but he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in an Oct. 28 game against the Arizona Cardinals. He would ultimately be released the following season, but at the time, his status for the season opener was uncertain. Patrick Taylor has remained in the third-string role and is evidently a favorite amongst the coaching staff. In the 2021 regular-season finale, he rushed 11 times for 53 yards and a touchdown against the Detroit Lions; he received extensive playing time thanks to the Packers already having the No. 1 seed secured.
Building A Rapport With The Green Bay Packers
Aaron Jones knows what the transition is like. A former fifth-round pick — referred to by the Goodson family has ‘3-3’ — dealt with sporadic playing time during his first two years in the league, even when it was apparent that he was the most fluid runner on the roster. He split time with Jamaal Williams, who was drafted one round ahead of him.
His growth, both as a player and as a man, has been well-documented. A native of Savannah, GA., Jones grew up four hours east of Tyler, who was born and raised in Suwanee. The two have developed something of a brotherly bond in their brief time together in Green Bay. This past off-season, they trained together in Miami for 30 days, lived together and Tyler even gets the luxury of basking him home-cooked meals courtesy of Jones’ mother, Vurgess.
Like Tyler, Jones has always been considered to be undersized for his position. At 5’9″ and 208 pounds, he’s a living, breathing testament to the concept that it isn’t always about stature — but about heart, will and determination.
When Will Tyler Goodson’s Time Finally Come?
When Tyler reported back to Green Bay in April to kickstart his second season, he told his parents just how difficult his rookie year was. For the first time since his injuries in high school when all he could do was watch, the backfield wasn’t his. He didn’t make the 53-man roster despite the encouraging preseason slate, but the Packers signed him back to their practice squad the second they were able to. Thankfully, for their sake, another team didn’t swoop in and try to sign him to their own 53-man roster.
One entire year’s worth of development on the practice squad while absorbing as much knowledge as possible from the likes of Jones and Dillon may have been the perfect scenario for Tyler. Given the Packers’ salary-cap bind, it’s possible that Jones is entering his final season with the team, barring something unforeseen. It would be a detrimental loss as Jones is one of the most respected and beloved players in Green Bay.
The restructured contract he signed in February added a third void year to his deal. As it stands right now, 2024 is contractually his final season with the Packers, however, it’s conceivable that the team would part ways beforehand.
Depending on what happens with Dillon, who is entering the fourth and final year of his rookie deal, the Packers could be without the familiar tandem in the near future.
It could be the opportunity that Tyler is preparing for.
“I’m gonna tell you exactly what he told me,” Maurice said, pausing for a moment. “He told me he’s going to be a franchise running back for the Green Bay Packers one day.”
The work that Zachary did on this article was incredible and too good not to share. Goodson has overcome so much in his football career. For now, he is just waiting for his opportunity with the Green Bay Packers.
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