Marquise Goodwin’s dream of winning a gold medal in his part-time job took a major blow on Sunday when he failed to qualify for the Olympics. Now he has a major fight to keep his full-time job.
Goodwin failed to make the U.S. Olympic long jump in Sunday’s trial finals, finishing seventh with a jump of 27 feet, ¾ inches. While the result is disappointing enough, Goodwin says he also strained his hamstring and his body is “banged up.”
That’s not good news for the Buffalo Bills or most importantly, Goodwin. Goodwin’s spot on the Bills roster was already in jeopardy with wide receivers Dez Lewis, Greg Salas, Leonard Hankerson, Greg Little, Marcus Easley, Jarrett Boykin, Kolby Listenbee, Walt Powell, and Gary Chambers all looking to make the team. A lingering injury could be devastating for Goodwin.
The fourth-year pro is already behind the eight ball after sitting out OTAs and mini-camp to keep himself fresh and healthy for his Olympic hopes, which was probably a smart move for his track career considering he’s been hurt for a majority of his NFL career.
He missed 14 games in 2015 due to a rib injury. In 2014 he found himself on the injury report seven different times, for a concussion, hamstring, ribs, and ankle injuries. In 2013, his most productive year (17 catches, 283 yards and three touchdowns), he broke his hand and missed four games.
The Bills could give up on Goodwin, much like they did on fellow third round pick TJ Graham. But it’s easy to keep your hopes up for Goodwin. He is considered one of the fastest receivers in the NFL after running a 4.27-second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine. He showed flashes of bringing that blazing speed to the football field in 2013. He scored all three of his touchdowns on plays of 40-plus yards.
The Bills’ top two receivers Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods are locks to make the team. The last three of four spots are up for grabs. While Goodwin’s focus has been on track, other wideouts on the Bills roster have made impressions. Goodwin has just over three weeks to get football ready and get himself in the mix.
He was undergoing vigorous training in Texas so it’s not like he’s going to show up to camp like Karlos Williams. But he’s been working on being as lean as possible and “eating like a bird,” so for a guy that’s already considered undersized – 5-foot-9, 180 pounds – it’s fair to say Goodwin is anything but physically ready to play football.
There are plenty of questions about Goodwin. Is he too small? Is he truly injury prone? Is he nothing more than a track star playing football? Goodwin and the Bills need to start answer those questions when training camp begins July 29 at St. John Fisher College.