EUGENE, Ore. -- Whew. That was a little close.
Buffalo Bills receiver Marquise Goodwin advanced to Sunday's finals in the long jump, placing 12th in Saturday's preliminary round at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in an event where only 12 athletes move on. Goodwin said he was sloppy and feeling a little rusty while messing up his first two jumps of the day, but isn't at all worried about finishing in the top three in the finals to qualify for Rio.
"Man, four years ago, I got 10th overall in the prelims, and won the finals," Goodwin said. "It doesn't matter what you do the day before the finals. Honestly, just come back, refocus and it's a new day."
Jeffrey Henderson was first in Saturday's prelims with a leap of 8.22 meters while 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Will Claye was second at 8.14. Goodwin's best jump was 7.82.
Goodwin competed for the United States at the 2012 Olympics, finishing 10th with a leap of 7.80. He was drafted by the Bills the following spring. After playing two seasons for Buffalo, he returned to track last year while also continuing to play football. He played just two games for the Bills last season, but has excelled in the long jump this year, leaping a personal-best 8.45 meters at one meet. That surpasses gold medalist Greg Rutherford's 8.31 jump at the 2012 Olympics.
He says playing football has helped him in the long jump.
"It's toughness," Goodwin said. "Strain a hamstring going in, you just have to push through it. You can't make excuses. You can't go out there and say, 'I have a hurt hammy or I got a broken hand.' When you're on the field, you just have to go out there and compete. You give it your all. If you win, you win; if you lose, you lose -- you take your L's like you take your W's.
"At the end of the day, you have to remember -- this is fun. You can't take the fun out of it."
If Goodwin qualifies for the Olympics, he says winning a medal in Rio would complete a dream he has had since he was 9 years old.
"It would be No. 1, being that I've never won an Olympic medal," he said. "I've accomplished a lot, but an Olympic medal is something I've always dreamed of. The Super Bowl, as well. If I could get two of those, I could probably die right after. God forbid that happened, but I could."