Any time you hear him speak, you get the impression Chris Godwin is thinking. Whether that be about what his next words might be or his next move. That’s true when he’s laughing off accusations lobbed from Dallas that he pushed off on a game-sealing catch on the opening night of the season and when he’s taking me inside his mindset on a new business partnership.
That partnership is with Lids, the hat company that has given over some creative ideas to Godwin for a new project in which Godwin was able to design five new hat embroidery designs that will be sold at Lids stores everywhere. It gives fans, as Godwin says, a chance to bring a little bit of him along with them.
The 2021 NFL champion and top receiver on the 2022 title favorites took some time to talk with Uproxx this week ahead of the release of this new Lids collection about hats, this colorful Bucs squad, and how he’s keeping the Tampa connection to the Toronto Raptors alive even as they leave town.
Let’s start with the main reason we’re here, which is this new Lids partnership. Tell me what went into putting this together, what drew you to it, and what do you hope comes of it as you put together these designs and people see everything come out?
Really, this is something I’m very fortunate to be able to do. When I was younger, I always felt like it was cool to be able to go to Lids, and Lids hats used to be really big. I know my older brothers had some.
But I guess when I really started to take interest was when my brother-in-law actually used to work there at a Lids at a school. He started to kind of make his own designs on his hats and break down for me how he was doing it, with the embroidery machine where you could customize any hat you wanted. I always used to think that was really cool, so when I was approached with my own opportunity to do a design and be able to put those in Lids stores all across the country, I jumped at the opportunity.
I thought it was something that would be really cool for me, but also for people that are fans of me to be able to I guess add a little bit of my creativity, a little bit of things that symbolize me, to their hats, as a way to support me, so to speak.
Did you have a favorite hat when you were a kid, one that you used to wear the most?
Ironically enough, my first team that I ever played for was called the Buccaneers, so then my first NFL team that I liked was the Bucs because of that association. Then when I found out they used to wear creamsicle, they had an all-creamsicle hat, and I always thought that was so dope. It was the coolest thing to me, like man, that’s a swaggy hat.
Then it was full circle, obviously playing for the Bucs now and I’ve got my own creamsicle hat similar to the one I used to like whenever I would see it. Now I can put my own design on it and it’s like my own personal hat.
What’s different coming into this season, after last year where nobody knew what to expect, what’s different about this year where you’re coming into a season where there are expectations as the defending champs?
I don’t necessarily know if the changes have been due to whatever expectations are placed on us. I think more so it comes from the familiarity that we have. Like you said, last year at this point, we had never really played together before, so we were figuring everything out, trying to figure out our timing with our quarterback. What’s crazy to me is how much chemistry we had to build with not much time to figure it out.
You fast forward to this year and now, we were fortunate enough to bring everybody back, so we’re starting at a further point. That doesn’t guarantee anything, that doesn’t mean we’re automatically going to win, that doesn’t mean that the throws we made last year we’re going to make this year, but it gives us a further starting point and a more open chain of communication so that when things do go wrong, we know how to address each other, we know how to talk each other’s language so we can address it as fast as possible. I think to go through the adversity we ended up going through last year to win the title, I think the combination of those two things are going to ultimately end up helping us when we go through adversity this year.
Who’s a Bucs player that people may not know is a funny, a big personality that may not come across? An everyday NFL fan, we know Gronk is a big personality, we know guys like you are out and about doing things, but who’s somebody in that Tampa Bay locker room that we might not expect is a big character?
I think two people. One would be Scotty Miller, the other would be Cam Brate. These guys are familiar to Bucs fans, but I think in terms of a national audience, I don’t think they necessarily have too much recognition, but they are like the biggest jokesters on the team. They like to troll people.
Any time someone posts something on social media, I can bet on going in and looking in the comments and seeing Cam saying some kind of troll. It’s hilarious.
Coming off the game last week which was down to the wire, you make that catch at the end, obviously entertaining and you gave the fans a good show, but what I saw a lot of talk about was that last catch on your part, was it pass interference and this and that, because we love to debate that type of thing as football fans. But you got asked about it postgame and you said you never worry about pass interference. Is that just the mindset you have to have because you can’t be out there worried, or you just think they’re never going to call it? Because, they’re never going to call it.
Mostly the former. You can’t go out there and not play aggressive because you’re worried that you’re going to get called for OPI. Because at the end of the day when you’re in the heat of battle, defensive backs hold, there’s hand-fighting going on back and forth, you’re kind of trading blows throughout the game, so in that final moment, I’m not worried about OPI, I’m just trying to get free.
And I also don’t think that I had pass interference. So there’s the bonus on that one (laughs).
I think this was dating back to last season when the Raptors were down there (in Tampa) with you guys, repping that team. I saw you had the Vince Carter jersey on the other day and we do a lot of basketball coverage here, so I have to ask you. Obviously you want to support the team when they had to come down there last season and deal with everything, but I was surprised to see you were still doing it. Is that a fandom that’s going to stick with you, or did it just look cool because the pink is sick?
So it was multifaceted. I went to a game when the team was down here last year and just wanted to support the team because I thought that was cool that there was a professional basketball team in Tampa.
Then two, Vince Carter is actually a Bucs fan, personally he grew up in Daytona, Florida, so he came out to one of our practices a few years ago and I remembered that when I got the jersey. Then I also love wearing throwback jerseys, so when I got that one last year, I knew that was something I was going to be able to do and I wanted to wear that for the first game of the season to bring it all together.
It kind of comes full circle because with this Lids locker room stuff, they have a whole bunch of throwback jerseys, so I’m able to go and get my jerseys and then I’ve got my throwbacks for the year, and then I got my Vince Carter to begin the year.