Jonathan Goodwin, his ex-49ers team both on mend

METAIRIE, La. -- Jonathan Goodwin spent three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, and they went to the NFC Championship Game or beyond every year. Now that he's back with the New Orleans Saints, the 49ers are struggling at 4-4.

But Goodwin insisted that's just a coincidence.

"I think highly of myself, but I don't think that highly of myself," said Goodwin, who remains questionable to play Sunday against his former team because of a sprained MCL he suffered three weeks ago. "So I'm definitely not gonna take any credit for that or anything. But I've got a lot of respect for a lot of guys in that locker room. They're 4-4, but they're a great 4-4 team, and I know what they're capable of."

It's not like the Saints and Goodwin have avoided hardships themselves. New Orleans is also off to a 4-4 start -- though it's now on the rise because of a two-game win streak.

Meanwhile, Goodwin has been plagued by injuries for the first time in his 13-year career. He battled through ankle, neck and elbow injuries early in the season before the sprained MCL finally sidelined him over the past two weeks -- ending an ironman streak of 92 consecutive regular-season starts.

It's especially a shame since Goodwin, 35, had found the fountain of youth this summer, saying it's the best he had ever felt in training camp in his career.

"It's one thing to go out and pull something, but I got rolled up like three times, so definitely unlucky, but what can you do about it?" said Goodwin, who was carted off the field twice this year -- after never having been carted off before.

Typically sprained MCLs require 3-4 weeks of recovery time, so Goodwin will be about as questionable as it gets this week. He and the Saints shouldn't feel too much pressure to get him back on the field since second-year backup Tim Lelito has played well in Goodwin's absence.

Goodwin said he'd love to play against his former team, "but at the same time if come Saturday it's not feeling right ... if it's not well enough to play, I don't want to have a setback."

"I want to be out there and play my best," Goodwin said. "I don't want to be out there if I have any doubts."

Goodwin said the idea that he should be able to offer New Orleans any insider info is overrated. He said the 49ers would likely change up any calls that he would recognize -- and that he wouldn't be able to hear them inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome anyway.

Goodwin also said he didn't need to tell his teammates much about the 49ers since they've gotten to know them well in three meetings over the past three seasons.

"This is the fourth straight year these teams have played, so I think guys in this locker room know, just like they know about us," Goodwin said. "Two great NFC contenders that have been right there the past few years for the most part."

Haralson reunion: Saints linebacker Parys Haralson will also be facing his former team for the second time since he was traded from San Francisco last summer. Haralson admitted he had to get through the initial shock at first, but he said it's worked out perfectly. Read more of his thoughts in this story by The Times-Picayune. Haralson is playing even more snaps this year as a part-time starter. He has 12 tackles and a sack.