Winston talks, but offers few details on suspension

by Gary Shelton on July 27, 2018 · 2 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Winston doesn't offer a lot of details./CARMEN MANDATO

Winston doesn't offer a lot of details./CARMEN MANDATO

Friday, 3 a.m.

If Jameis Winston had stayed in that night, we might be talking about the rebuilt Bucs' defense instead.

If he had kept his hands to himself, we might be talking about whether DeSean Jackson can make more of an impression in his second season.

If Winston had not struck a deal with the NFL, perhaps we would have been talking about whether the offensive line can open holes wide enough for Ronald Jones II.

Instead, we are talking about Winston, all the time. There are those who seem to see Winston as a villain here, and others who see him as a victim. There are those who are behind him 100 percent, and there are those who are willing to give him a shove.

Winston has eaten the recent off-season for the Bucs. Instead of talking about whether Jason Pierre-Paul is too old or if Vita Vea is

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too young, all of the talk has been about Winston -- whether the Bucs should keep him or cut him, whether he is a blossoming quarterback or a busting one, whether he will lead his team to the playoffs or nowhere at all. It is all Winston, all of the time. If you do not have an opinion, one will be assigned to you as you enter the city limits.

Winston answered -- sort of -- questions for the first time Thursday afternoon. He zigged and he zagged, and he talked about moving forward, but he never did provide answers of what happened that night with the Uber driver. If you were expecting an apology, or a confession, this press conference was not for you.

Remember, Winston is the guy who originally said the charges were false, that the incident never happened. Then he apologized and took his punishment. So was he in error then? Or is he in error now?

“I’m just focused on moving forward," Winston said. "That’s all I can do. I’ve grown and learned from this situation and it’s a learning experience. I’ve worked hard in this community since I got here and I’m going to continue to work hard, on and off the field.”

Got that?

“I understand that they (the fans) are disappointed in me," Winston said. "I’m disappointed. I should have never put myself in that situation but all I can do is grow and learn from that. What I tell the fans: continue to support this team, continue to support me. Since I’ve been here, my main goal was to grow as a leader, to be a huge advocate in the community and I’ve done that and I’m going to continue to do that.

“They (the NFL) have made their decision and there’s nothing I can say beyond that. They made their decision. I have to look at myself and grow and learn from this experience.”

Winston's suspension will affect not only his team, but his coach, whose job is in jeopardy.

"My reactions is that the league took action and we don’t have control of it as a team," coach Dirk Koetter said. "We have to deal with it, and we have to get ready to play our first three games. We have to get ready for the season. You know it’s disappointing. It’s disappointing that Jameis put himself in that position and put our team in that position, but at this point it’s done, and we have to deal with it.

"I don’t know anything about the incident. I know that the NFL investigation found him in violation of the conduct rule. That’s all that I know about it. I know that he’s got a three-game suspension. As I said, it’s disappointing that Jameis put himself and put the team in that situation, but again we have to deal with it. That’s all I can really say about that.”

Still, Winston played dodgeball when it came to specifics. He didn't  say what happened in the Uber car. He didn't say what he thought of the NFL's decision. He didn't say if he was in a substance abuse program.

“I’ve just learned that you can’t put yourself in these situations. This happened after my rookie year. I think I have made a lot of positive changes since then.”

“I’ve just learned that you can’t put yourself in these situations," Winston said. "This happened after my rookie year. I think I have made a lot of positive changes since then.”

But has he made enough. His critics think he should be a former employee of the team, but Winston continued to talk about his leadership. Perhaps it was not the right time for that.

“Again, I don’t want to rehash the situation," Winston said. All I can do is focus on moving forward and putting this behind me.

“Since my rookie year, I’ve been in this community building dream rooms, being connected to this community. I love this community. I know that I’m a positive influence and I have to live up to the standards that I hold myself to. But again, I’ve grown and I’ve learned from this situation and I am going to continue to do that.”

In a way, it's easy to understand the fans who support him still. After all, a faceless Uber driver isn't going to win any games for the Bucs. Winston, on the other hand, has been portrayed as the face of the franchise. For the Bucs, he represents hope if not character.

“Well, my first reaction to that is that I’ve worked hard since I’ve gotten to this community to prove that I am the guy that the Buccaneers drafted, and I’m going to continue to do that," Winston said. "I believe these fans should still support us, as a whole organization, and support me as well because I’ve given a lot to those fans. And those fans have been good to me as well.”

Winston was asked if he saw this as his last chance.

“Since I’ve been in this community, I’ve given it my all," Winston said. "I know I’ve got some hard work to do to regain the trust of my fans, but building dream rooms, being in the community, being a leader on and off the field – my main goal is to be a great person, a great teammate, and a great leader every single day, and I think I’ve done that.”

Winston would not say what he thought of his suspension.

“I understood that they had a process to go through, and no matter if I agree with it or not, I have to look at myself within and find out how I can grow and learn from this, and I think I’ve done that," Winston said. “I just wanted to put this behind us and move forward.

“I’ve just learned that you can’t put yourself in these situations. This happened after my rookie year. I think I have made a lot of positive changes since then.”








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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill MYERS July 27, 2018 at 8:22 am

The only thing that will make this all fade away is winning! If this team can put together a winning season (think playoffs) then everything will look much brighter. Fans will jump back on the band wagon, Kotter will be up for Coach of the Year, Vita Vea makes Rookie of the Year and all is forgiven! That the solution…win more games than you lose and everybody gets happy again! But Winston will still have to pay the Uber driver some big money down the road for not keeping his hands to himself. BTW I’m not betting on any of this happening except for the Uber driver getting rich.


Gary Shelton July 27, 2018 at 11:29 pm

It’s going to be hard for the Bucs. They don’t have a favorable schedule, and a lot of analysts think that the team will replace its head coach and it’s general manager.

I agree with you, though. The old saying is the best deodorant is winning. It makes everything better. Remember when Ben Roethlisberger faced his accusations? He took his team to the Super Bowl the next year, and suddenly, a lot of fans from Pittsburgh were ready to fight for him.


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