Will Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin play in Week 1? 'I don't think any of us know that yet'

Will Chris Godwin suit up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their season opener Sunday night?

Perhaps that's a question Godwin doesn't even know the answer to.

Looking to return from a torn ACL that cut his 2022 season short, Godwin left his status for Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys up in the air with recent comments.

"That's a great question," Godwin said when asked if he'd be ready to play in Week 1 on the In the Moment with David Greene podcast, which was released on Tuesday. "I don't think any of us know that yet."

While Godwin's comments were released Tuesday, promising news came a day earlier when Godwin was seen at Bucs practice sans a knee brace on his surgically repaired knee. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport noted Monday it was an encouraging sign that the receiver was headed in the right direction.

Godwin's 2021 campaign ended in Week 15, forcing him to miss the Buccaneers' final three games of the regular season, along with their postseason run. He still turned in a career-high 98 receptions and his second career 1,000-yard season. With his knee injury coming as late in the season as it did, it would not be a huge surprise for him to miss the opener, but it might well be a decision that's still to be determined this week.

"It's all gonna come down to feel," Godwin said. "Cause I understand what I'm capable of doing on the field when healthy. But I also understand what I'm capable of pushing through."

There's also a question of timing. Godwin missed the final stretch of the season and a playoff run that extended to the NFC Championship Game. He was still the team's leading receiver (by 24 catches) and frontrunner in receiving yardage. Is it worth it to get back a little quicker for the opening of the season, or to a run a more cautious route in the hopes of increasing the odds that he lasts throughout the end of the campaign?

"In the grand scheme of things, I don't think it matters that much," said Godwin of making it back for Week 1. "I would love to be there for the entire season, but I think what's more important is being there for the second half of the season. Being there for what I missed last year."

Heading into his age-26 season, Godwin should have plenty of seasons ahead of him, but he underscored making the most intelligent decision on his road back to the gridiron.

"I push to get back as soon as I can," Godwin said, "while being smart at the same time."

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