While most NFL players are getting ready to report to training camp, Marquise Goodwin has been mixing it up with world-class athletes in Toronto, pursuing his passion at the 2015 Pan-Am Games. The Buffalo Bills receiver capped off his experience by winning a silver medal in the long jump.
Goodwin came right out of the gates with his strongest effort of the season—a 8.13-meter leap that put him in second place at the time behind USA teammate and gold-medal winner Jeffery Henderson (8.54 meters).
Emiliano Lasa of Uruguay stole his thunder shortly after, slightly besting the two-sport star with a jump of 8.17 meters to vault into second place.
But Goodwin would not be overtaken so easily.
He found another gear.
In his third effort of the evening, Goodwin came close to matching his career best by leapfrogging Lasa with an astounding 8.27-meter jump.
- Jeffery Henderson, USA: 8.54 meters
- Marquise Goodwin, USA: 8.27 meters
- Emiliano Lasa, Uruguay: 8.17 meters
- Tyrone Smith, Bermuda: 8.07 meters
- Diego Hernandez, Venezuela: 7.99 meters
- Yunior Diaz, Cuba: 7.90 meters
- Jorge McFarlane, Peru: 7.80 meters
- Quincy Breel, Aruba: 7.70 meters
- Luis Rivera, Mexico: 7.63 meters
- Higor Alves, Brazil: 7.60 meters
- Daniel Pineda, Chile: 7.46 meters
Goodwin eased into the final event with the second-longest jump in the field—8.05 meters (26 feet, 5 inches)—during preliminaries.
The former Texas Longhorn has quite the resume in the sport of track and field, as detailed by ESPN Stats & Info:
Bills WR Marquise Goodwin participated in Long Jump event at Pan Am Games. He is pretty decorated in track and field: pic.twitter.com/tQpwDH2omn
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 21, 2015
He also finished in 10th place during the 2012 Olympics, and the second-place finish in Toronto is a phenomenal feather in his cap.
Heading into the final event, Goodwin reflected on his good fortune as a successful two-sport athlete, calling the unique opportunity he has “a gift,” via ESPN.com’s Jim Caple.
His desire to return to the sport of long jumping was partly inspired by his younger sister, Deja, who was born with cerebral palsy and has never been able to use her legs.
When Bills WR Marquise Goodwin goes 4 long jump gold today at the Pan Am Games he'll do it w/ his sister Deja in mind http://t.co/bQiYCfFSED
— E60 (@E60) July 22, 2015
“She definitely drives me and keeps me motivated,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to be at home wasting my talents knowing that she’s never walked a day in her life. If she had one day, one opportunity, she wouldn’t be sitting there eating potato chips on the couch. I have to put that in perspective and continue to use that as a driving force for me to continue to work and continue to get better.”
No doubt Deja is immensely proud of her big brother for pursuing his passion in the sport of track and field.
Now, after his silver-medal finish in Toronto, Goodwin will travel south to join his teammates for the start of Bills training camp, which opens July 31 at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, New York.
While the Bills feature a crowded depth chart at the receiver position, Goodwin’s roster spot is likely safe, provided he stays healthy. His explosiveness on the field lends itself perfectly to kickoff returns, and he has carved out a niche for himself in the league in this capacity.
Additionally, the Bills could just do this to take advantage of Goodwin’s athletic prowess:
— #BILLSMAFIA-TJDMCR (@TJDMCR) July 22, 2015
Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports