On the day free agency starts, I dropped a line to our good friend Jonathan Goodwin to catch up on a multitude of topics. Of course I wanted to ask him about the upcoming process of free agency, and reflect some on his career as well. He needs no introduction and you'll remember him as a Pro Bowler in the Super Bowl title year that anchored the Saints' offensive line at center. Many thanks to J Goody for taking the time, I know I'll be rooting for him to return to the Saints in the coming weeks.
Saints Nation: Jonathan, thanks for doing this. So you're about to hit free agency in a matter of hours, you've been down this road before, but never as a 35 year old. Is that a little unsettling? What is your mindset entering this period?
Jonathan Goodwin: My mindset has been great. I think it was a little more unsettling the last time I was free agent. Being 35 I realize that I may receive less interest on the market so I think understanding that has made it less stressful this time around.
SN: Have you closed the door on returning to the 49ers? Are there specific teams you yourself have targeted?
JG: I haven't closed the door. Waiting to see how some things play out. I haven't targeted any specific teams.
SN: I have to ask, has your agent had any talks with the Saints? As you might be aware, the team currently doesn't have a center with Brian de la Puente an unrestricted free agent. Of course it's possible he's brought back, but how open would you be to the possibility of coming back to the Saints if the opportunity presented itself?
JG: Not to my knowledge. I would be very open to that. I loved playing in New Orleans. It was extremely tough for me to leave in the first place, so I would strongly consider it if the opportunity presented itself.
SN: Speaking of your time in New Orleans, we've all been a bit nostalgic about the 2009 season lately with the Saints unloading so many guys that were a huge part of that team (Vilma, Will Smith, Jabari Greer, Roman Harper and most recently Lance Moore). I'm sure you've heard about those players. It's crazy to think how much movement there's been with the roster in 4 years, barely anyone is left from that title run. Such is life in the NFL. Can you talk about that 2009 season and those relationships?
JG: That team was one of the closest team I've ever been apart of. I have a trip planned in a couple weeks with the rest of the starting offensive linemen from that team. It's tough to see a lot of those guys go but you know that how this business goes.
SN: A pretty impressive stat I noticed: you've been a starter for 16 games in each of the last 5 seasons, and in four of those five seasons you've been a starting center in the NFC Championship game. That is an insane stat. I don't know if anyone has pulled off a run like that with more than one team. You have to be pretty proud of your career. 35 or not, durability and success have to be big reasons for signing you.
JG: Wow I never even realized that! Maybe I need to add that to my resume. Haha. I take a lot of pride in being on the field for my team so I do my best to take care of my body.
SN: You've played for the Jets, 49ers and Saints during your career. I assume you've played in every stadium? Be real with me, who has the best fans?
JG: I'll have to answer this one after I see what happens haha.
SN: OK, let's take you back a second. You went to Michigan with Tom Brady. Did you ever imagine in your wildest dreams he would turn into what he is now?
JG: Definitely, in college I thought he was a great quarterback. Did I know he would be consider as one of the all time greats? No. But I knew he had a good arm and was extremely intelligent which in my opinion is two of the most important qualities you need in a quarterback.
SN: When you look back on your career from before high school to now, that's a lot of winning and success for ~25 years. What are your best memories and accomplishments you're most proud of?
JG: Well obviously winning a Super Bowl. That's obviously what every football player wants to do. I still can't put into words how that feels. Another thing would be getting into the Pro Bowl. Early in my career people viewed me as only a backup, to become a starter and to be recognized for playing at an elite level means a lot to me.
SN: Have you thought about life after the NFL? Any idea what you'll pursue once you hang the cleats up?
JG: I have, I really want to get into sports marketing. I recently did an internship at Under Armour and that field really caught my attention.
SN: Last question: The Ahmad Brooks hit on Drew Brees – did you think that should have been a penalty?
JG: When I saw the hit live I knew there would be a flag because of how violent it looked. After seeing the replay I thought it was a bad call. Honestly I didn't understand what else Ahmad could do in that situation.