When the Carolina Panthers took Mike Goodson in the fourth round of last spring's NFL draft out of Texas A&M, they hoped he would contribute in several places. He could run the ball, move into the slot to catch it or even return kicks.
Goodson did all of that Saturday in the Panthers' 17-13 NFL preseason exhibition loss against the Baltimore Ravens at Bank of America Stadium.
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Getting lots of playing time due to injuries to DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, Goodson ran for 52 yards on 11 carries. He also caught three passes for 26 yards.
For good measure, he returned four kickoffs for 77 yards, including one that went for 27 yards.
Goodson started quickly, picking up 14 yards on his first run. Although it was called back by an illegal formation penalty, Goodson had set the stage for himself.
Finding room with quickness and a long stride, Goodson made trouble for the Ravens' vaunted first-team defense for much of the game.
“I had a lot of holes to run through,” said Goodson of his work at running back. “It was a great experience going out there with the (first team).”
Said Panthers coach John Fox: “I think Mike Goodson has had a good (training camp) and has had good showing in all our (exhibitions). He has stood out.”
Goodson also learned about the “illegal touching” penalty in the NFL. He was called for that infraction in the fourth quarter when he went out of bounds, then came back in to catch a pass.
With starters not expected to play much in next week's preseason finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Goodson will likely get another chance at significant playing time.
Goodson did get a chance to meet Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis early in the game. On his second carry, Lewis crunched him for a 2-yard loss.
“I watched him when I was growing up a lot,” said Goodson. “It was good to go out there and mix it up with him.”
Goodson was asked if the always demonstrative Lewis had anything to say to him.
“No, no worries, no worries,” said Goodson, laughing. “He was a professional about it.”