John Goodman knows he has his work cut out for him to join longtime friend and teammate Tyler Eifert on the Cincinnati Bengals. But what a great story it would be.
The Bengals called Goodman on Sunday, inviting him to their rookie camp as an undrafted free agent. The chance puts him alongside first-round draft pick Eifert, a fellow Bishop Dwenger High School and University of Notre Dame alum.
“Playing against each other since we were little, throwing him the ball at Dwenger, getting to Notre Dame and playing together four or five years – it doesn't get any better than playing with him again for the Bengals,” Goodman said. “Hopefully, I'll make the team and have a chance to be on the field at the same time. That would be great for this community and for Dwenger.”
It'd be great, true, and most of all for Goodman. A quarterback and receiver at Dwenger, Goodman became a full-time wide receiver at Notre Dame. He didn't become a star like Eifert (the nation's top tight end), but Goodman showed enough flashes to get an NFL look.
Five other NFL teams had shown interest, but the Bengals were the first to make the offer to give him his opportunity.
“That's all I want is to be able to go in there and show what I can do,” Goodman said. “I've been taught so much through the years playing at Notre Dame that I feel I can take that and use it at this camp and excel. It's something I really think I can do.”
Goodman has been honing his conditioning and skills at Athletes With Purpose (AWP) since returning to Fort Wayne from Notre Dame.
“The AWP guys have helped me out so much physically, and mentally and with my character overall,” he said. “I think that's really going to help with this.”
Goodman said he feels the Bengals can be a good situation for him in terms of competing for a roster spot. Goodman's agent, Roosevelt Barnes, had told him the Bengals might call Monday. They surprised him a day early.
“I couldn't be more thankful and blessed for that call to come through,” Goodman said.
Goodman was golfing Sunday with Eifert and others for the birthday of a friend, Alex Budzon, when the Bengals called. Goodman and Budzon were in a cart together when Goodman took the call.
When Goodman caught up with Eifert after the call, he said, “Ty, I'm joining you on the Bengals,” Goodman said.
“He got excited about that.”
Bishop Dwenger football coach Chris Svarczkopf said he remembers well the first time Goodman and Eifert lined up on the same side together at Notre Dame – Goodman at flanker and Eifert at tight end.
He and the players' families were reminiscing about that on Sunday.
“We said we should call Cincinnati and tell them we have that play where the quarterback throws backward to Goodman and he throws it across the field to Eifert,” Svarczkopf said. “Works every time.”