Marquise Goodwin misses out on spot in worlds, so 'back to football'

EUGENE, Ore. -- Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin almost had a convenient excuse to miss some of training camp.

Oh well, the long jumper can now leap into the Rex Ryan era without distractions. Goodwin finished fourth at the U.S. championships Thursday night, just missing out on a spot at worlds. His best attempt was 27 feet, 5½ inches -- or about a yard shy of a first down. Marquis Dendy of Florida won at 28-5 3/4.

"Back to football," Goodwin said. "But words can't even explain how happy I am right now."

A solid attempt, considering he's spent more time brushing up on Ryan's formations than honing his long jump form. Goodwin hasn't competed since the 2012 London Games, but figured he'd give it a shot after recently dunking a basketball with ease.

"I was like, 'I still have a little juice in the tank. I think I can make some noise,'" Goodwin said. "I believed."

It would've been a tough assignment if he made it. The long jump final at the world championships will be held Aug. 25 in Beijing, and the Bills play a preseason game four days later against Pittsburgh.

Maybe next summer, when he has more practice under his belt and a spot at the Rio Games is on the line.

"We know what's (coming up) next year. I expect big things," Goodwin said. "But football is my main deal right now."

The long jump remains his first love, and Goodwin just couldn't pass up this opportunity when chairman Ed Gorman granted him a spot in the event. Former New York Giants running back David Wilson tried to qualify in the triple jump, but didn't make the standard in order to compete at nationals. Wilson retired from the NFL last August at 23 years old because of a serious neck injury. He's picking up the event again and may just be a factor by the Rio Games next summer.

Goodwin thought he had a good shot to make the world team, too.

"It's not like I retired and went into something else," said the 24-year-old Goodwin, who played at Texas and was picked by the Bills in the third round of the 2013 draft. "It's not like I haven't done anything. I've stayed sharp, basically through football workouts.

"I cater those workouts to track-specific things, so I don't lose the rhythm I've always had to keep football and track in balance. I don't want to get too much on the football side and gain weight, so I'm as fast on the field."

Goodwin was a two-time NCAA champion and seven-time All-American with the Longhorns, despite having to make the quick transition from the football field to the track. He earned a spot on the U.S. squad for the 2011 world championships in South Korea as a 20-year-old. Then, a year later, he made the Olympic team, finishing 10th in London.

Football was his calling, though, after a career at Texas in which he amassed 2,776 all-purpose yards as a deep threat and a kickoff returner.

In two seasons with the Bills, he's hauled in 18 passes for 325 yards and three scores. Goodwin had a 59-yard TD catch against Kansas City in 2013.

At the moment, Goodwin isn't sure how Ryan will use him next season, but wouldn't mind some go routes to utilize his blazing speed.

"I love Rex. He's a great guy and a great coach," Goodwin said. "I'm excited to play for him."