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Marquise Goodwin happy with 'surreal' silver medal

TORONTO -- Marquise Goodwin didn't win the long jump at the Pan Am Games on Wednesday night, which wasn't entirely unexpected. One, he returned to the sport only about two months ago and this was just his second competition since then. Two, he was going up against a very tough competitor in fellow American Jeffrey Henderson. And three, well, he plays for the Buffalo Bills and when do the Bills ever win a championship?

Nonetheless, the Buffalo wide receiver walked away with a silver medal and a good feeling after finishing second to Henderson. Goodwin's longest leap was 8.27 meters (27 feet, 1 inch), while Henderson won with a leap of 8.54 meters (28 feet, ΒΌ inch).

"I always dreamed of doing this, being able to do track and field and the NFL at the same time," Goodwin said. "So it's kind of surreal to have a stage like this and the opportunity to represent my team, the NFL and USA Track and Field.

"We knew we were going to come 1-2, we just didn't know which order. That speaks for itself. USA jumping is back in business."

Goodwin started long-jumping at age 9 and competed in the 2012 London Olympics, but left the sport after the Bills drafted him the next year. Whether he continues to compete in the long jump depends on how his NFL career goes.

"I love long-jumping, and if I'm granted the opportunity without repercussions, then I will pursue it further," he said, "but I'm obligated to Buffalo Bills football and that's the main focus."

Whatever Goodwin does going forward, Henderson said he was happy to have him jumping, for now at least.

"It's good seeing him in track instead of football," Henderson said. "I know he got kind of banged up in football, which is kind of sad. He still came out here and got second and silver. I'm glad he did that. He did well at U.S. championships, too. I know he's got football camp coming up, but it's good seeing him back in the sport. He brings more fans to the sport."

And definitely more media attention here. Both Henderson and Goodwin were questioned by far more reporters than most of the American athletes here at these Pan Am Games.

"It feels great," Henderson said. "I feel like I'm a football player -- that's how I feel."

That is, other than feeling the pain of injuries.

Asked this week whether he considers himself a football player or a long jumper, Goodwin said he simply considers himself an athlete.

"People who don't understand will try to label me as one or the other," he told ESPN.com. "I'm an athlete and a lot of people just have to come to terms with that. I do well in football, I do well in track. It is what it is. Some things won't change. It won't change that I'm an Olympian if you call me a football player, and it won't change that I'm an NFL player if you call me a track and field athlete."

The Bills start their training camp next week. Goodwin was limited by many injuries last year (concussion, ankle, ribs, hamstring), and had only one reception the entire season. There also will be a lot of competition at receiver this season, but he said he is confident he will be back on the team and that competing in the long jump was not a distraction from football.

"I won't allow anything to distract me," he said. "I'm too focused on that."