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Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (knee) avoids PUP list to begin training camp

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren't leaving any stone unturned at receiver entering 2022, and they received some surprising news related to the position on Wednesday.

Chris Godwin will not start training camp on the physically unable to perform list, NFL Network's Sara Walsh reported on Good Morning Football. Godwin underwent ACL surgery in early January to repair a knee injury suffered in Week 15, putting him on a timeline that would seem to project for an in-season return and require starting camp on the PUP list. Instead, things seem to be ahead of schedule.

Godwin's role in Tampa Bay's offense cannot be understated. Despite playing less than a full season, he led the Buccaneers in receiving with 1,103 yards in 2021, tacking on five touchdowns as a key target for Tom Brady. The Buccaneers have quite a one-two punch in Godwin and Evans, and the club understandably entered 2022 intent on keeping them together.

Despite the injury, Tampa Bay doubled down by handing Godwin the franchise tag for a second straight year before signing him to a three-year, $60 million deal.

The Penn State product rose from a 2017 third-round pick to a star pass catcher playing with the best quarterback to ever take the field. With a very limited title-contention window left with Brady, the Buccaneers have dedicated every resource toward winning immediately, as indicated by the Tuesday signing of Julio Jones.

Godwin's status, while unconfirmed, points toward a quicker return than anticipated. If he can take the field fully healthy and become the latest athlete to defy modern medicine, it will only increase Brady's chances of winning an eighth ring.

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