Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- Outside of quarterback EJ Manuel, no other rookie on the Buffalo Bills roster made the type of big plays during the preseason that brought fans out of their seats quite like third round wide receiver Marquise Goodwin.
The small, but electric pass catcher doubled as the team's main kick returner, and even brought one opportunity back the length of the field for a touchdown during an exhibition game. Not only his season, but the Bills' return game took a hit when Goodwin fractured a bone in his hand during the first contest of the year.
Catching his first pass of his young career during Week One against New England, a Patriots defender hit the top of Goodwin's hand with his helmet as he was holding the ball, and the ball was dislodged. That was the last the Bills saw of their speedy rookie and have been patiently waiting for his return.
Getting back on the practice field this week, it seems Goodwin is on the precipice of a return to game action.
"Fired up," head coach Doug Marrone said when ask how he felt about the rookie. "You get a guy back there like that, I’ve always said that when he’s on the field, he looks fast and he’s had some time to rest. He kept himself in great shape."
Not only will Goodwin push for snaps at receiver as the season goes along, but he provides an immediate threat in the return game. To this point, the Bills haven't been able to jumpstart what is normally an area of strength for the franchise.
Buffalo has only been able to return four kickoffs and have averaged a mere 18.5 yards per return. Both of those numbers are the second worst totals in the National Football League. Goodwin is looking forward to taking the challenge of potentially flipping those numbers.
"Yeah, real excited just to be out there helping my team any way I can," he said. "Kick return is just one of those things. I'm looking forward to going out there and being productive."
Most teams have been able to get the Bills to just take a knee in the end zone. However, they haven't gone up against a player that was clocked with a 4.27 40-yard dash.
"Yeah, just kick it in bounds and I'll be good," Goodwin joked.
If the receiver does play against the Bengals, he may have some good opportunities to help bring up the averages for Buffalo on kick returns. Cincinnati has the fourth lowest touchback percentage in the NFL, only preventing a return 45.5-percent of the time.