It couldn’t get much better for former Florida State DT Eddie Goldman than to be picked by the Chicago Bears and hear a ringing endorsement from NFL Hall of Fam linebacker Dick Butkus, who announced the selection. Goldman, a native of Washington D.C., grew up watching archival football film with his father, who was a die hard fan of NFL legends Mean Joe Greene and Tony Brackus as well as Butkus.
Goldman has always been a student of football history thanks to years spent watching games with his dad. When he had the opportunity to honor some of his sports heroes he turned to the numbers on his uniform. During his freshman year at FSU, Goldman wore No. 81 in honor of Carl Ellers of the Purple People Eaters Vikings era, then the No. 90 of Brackus as well as another of his idols, current Bears DT Jeremiah Ratilff.
Goldman expressed no disappointment when speaking to the Bears media tonight in going in the second round rather than the first round, where some had projected him. For Goldman, it was the destination that was of primary importance.
“The Bears picked me. That’s a great team, a perfect team for me,” he said. “They play the way I like to play so I’m happy about that. This is a great honor and to enter the league that way with the Bears and their great history, I’m at a loss for words. Not only do I get to be part of a great organization but I get to be part of a brotherhood which is the NFL. I’m just ecstatic right now.”
One of the first things Goldman thought about when he received the call from the Bears was the opportunity to play along with Ratliff. The only possible problem Goldman could see would be that of a uniform number.
“I just look forward to learning a lot from him,” Goldman said. “But I don’t know if he wears number 90 or not. I guess we’ll see.”
Choosing this 6-4, 338-pound nose tackle demonstrates GM Ryan Pace’s commitment to rebuilding a defense that has struggled the past few seasons. Goldman is known for his quickness, overall size, wingspan, sense of the ball, power shutting down run plays and football intelligence. At FSU he played 10 games as a true freshman and started at defensive end a year later, helping the Seminoles rank first in scoring defense.
Goldman sees himself as an effective pass rusher and is eager to learn the Bears’ approach to defensive schemes.
“I think I can pass rush with the best of them,” said Goldman, who had four sacks last season. “We just have to see. I definitely plan to prove everybody wrong who says I can’t do that effectively.”
Goldman saw the value of film study early in his career and has continued in that regard throughout his college years.
“I learned a lot. From Ratliff I saw how quick he was. Coming up with guys from my era I watched a lot of guys. Kevin Williams and Pat Williams. Back in the day with the older guys I watched Mean Joe Green, Tony Brackus, guys like that. I could go on and on about guys I watched back in the day.”
Goldman came into football after a brief grade school career in boxing and some high school basketball.
“I started playing football in eighth grade. I boxed two years. It helped me with my hand quickness. Transitioning to football after boxing wasn’t that hard.”
Chicago’s recent dismal defensive record doesn’t seem to concern Goldman, who is eager to get to Halas Hall and learn his new job.
“I’m just here to do my job,” he said. “What they did before really doesn’t concern me.”
Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 17 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.