As a reporter, it is your job to catch the action on the field, gather the quotes in the locker room and podium, and of course report on everything that happens when the games are being played.

But sometimes you stumble onto something by accident that makes you stand up and take notice. Just by maybe hanging around a little longer after a game or after a practice.

That happened on Thursday.

The Bucs concluded their three-day mandatory mini camp on Thursday and the players will be off for the next six weeks, approximately. After three straight days of stifling heat, you can bet many had their eyes on a beach in the Bahamas or a trip back to their hometown for some of Mama’s cooking.

Anything but running around behind One Buc Place in the 90-plus degree heat.

But not every player was fantasizing about Piña Coladas and bikinis.

More often than not after practice – year round – Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston stays after practice to work with his receivers and tight ends doing red zone work. But today seemed a little different.

Winston often talks about how much he loves to play football. Even practice, because it gives him a chance to play even more. On Thursday, 20 minutes after practice was over,  Winston and tight end Cam Brate didn’t want to leave the field. Particularly Winston, who even took a turn as a receiver with Brate his quarterback.

After catching a touchdown pass on a fade pass in the corner of the end zone, Winston went back to quarterback and split Brate out wide to his left. Winston yelled to Brate, “For the Super Bowl!”

Brate made his way to the corner of the end zone and Winston threw a strike that Brate came down with, and Winston immediately raised his finger in the air and jogged over to Brate where they both leaped in the air to celebrate. Winston said, “That was for the Super Bowl!”

Just like most us did hundreds of times as kids, Winston was playing the “last second score” to win a Super Bowl scenario. Again, didn’t most of us do that with our little brothers, cousins or neighborhood friends?

Jamies Winston Bucs OTAs

QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

I know I did many, many times, pretending I was Doug Williams and my cousin Eddie was Kevin House or Jimmie Giles. But I was 12. Not 23. I was in sixth grade. Not an NFL quarterback.

Bucs fans, that is your quarterback.

A kid at at heart.

Playing a grown man’s game now, but with a youthful exuberance.

With a smile on his face.

With a twinkle in his eye.

These are the little things that don’t show up on film, and the things that made general manager Jason Licht select him with the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2015.

These are the things that Dirk Koetter says surprises him every day with Winston, but shouldn’t.

These are the things that should make Bucs fans sleep better each night, knowing the franchise is headed in the right direction.

After their celebration dance, and some friendly banter, Brate put his arm on Winston’s shoulder, and the quarterback asked his tight end if he was ready to go get a shaved ice from the truck parked on the edge of the practice field.

But somehow you get the idea that Winston wasn’t ready to leave. You got the sense he would love to take a break and go find a few more players to have another backyard game with. You got the sense that Winston wouldn’t mind a fourth day of mini-camp.

He gets it. He just gets it.

Winston has over 25 million reasons to play and work hard to succeed in football. And in a couple of years it will approach or exceed 100 million reasons.

But knowing Winston the last three years, and seeing things like I witnessed on Thursday, you would have to believe he would do it for much less. Much less. Don’t tell that to his agent, but Winston plays football not for the money or recognition, but for the true love of the sport.

Bucs fans, this is your quarterback.

Count your blessings, they don’t come around very often.

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
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cgmaster27
cgmaster27
5 years ago

Amen to that Mark. Seeing things like this is awesome. It’s what you do when no one is looking that speaks to what kind of man you are. And this guy gets it for sure.

BosNole1636
BosNole1636
5 years ago

Love me some Jameis!

jshumaker
jshumaker
5 years ago

I do believe he is so humble that when it is time to extend his contract he isn’t going to pull a Kirk Cousins and demand that he be the highest paid player in the league even though he will deserve it. If he does that then it will carry over to the rest of the team and we will be looking at dynasty

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  jshumaker
5 years ago

Fans of the sport of football should focus on the game, and let the business side take care of business. Jameis will turn over the negotiation of his second contract to his agent. Because the salary cap grows substantially every year and QB contracts tend to be long term (5 years give or take), if a starting QB is halfway decent the next man up is always going to be highedt paid player in the NFL. So don’t knock Cousins for his contract, or knock Jameis for his. It’s business, not personal. The one exception is Tom Brady. He is… Read more »

Horse
Horse
5 years ago

Go Bucs!

Hank Scorpio
Hank Scorpio
5 years ago

Mark, I hope your Cousin Eddie appreciates how glorious of a moniker that is.

johnnybuc1
johnnybuc1
5 years ago

Terrific insight, Mark! Cannot wait for the season to start!!!!

Buc-n-Philly Fan
Buc-n-Philly Fan
5 years ago

God I love football!

It finally feels good to be born and bred in Tampa and to be a Bucs Fan again!!!

akira541
akira541
5 years ago

Am I the only one that feels that the “for the superbowl” should be the headline and theme for this season? Like tshirts made and everything

scubog
scubog
5 years ago

Maybe my friend Pink will start to come around on Jameis this year. See you in a few weeks.

jme0151
jme0151
Reply to  scubog
5 years ago

I thought Pink would note how Marriota was rated a few spots higher then Jameis. He is a Buc’s fan so he will be there.

scubog
scubog
Reply to  jme0151
5 years ago

Yes, Pink is a very loyal fan and very insightful. Looking forward to observing and commenting with him at Training Camp.

Rusty Rhino
Rusty Rhino
5 years ago

Any way to turn down the music on the video? it keeps running even when you stop the videos? Great photos and video thanks for a great report.

e
e
5 years ago

And to think that half of the Bucs fans didn’t want Winston at the time…

tpeluso
tpeluso
Reply to  e
5 years ago

I can’t speak for all those that preferred Mariota, but for me at least, I didn’t trust that Winston had grown up and matured, that he would do the right things off the field. It had nothing to do with how he’d perform on the field, and in all fairness, the two have similar numbers since coming into the league. But the first thing I said once the pick was made was “I hope to GOD I’m wrong,” and it’d hard to recall something I could be more happy to have been wrong about.

fredster
fredster
5 years ago

Love Winstons attitude and ethic so far. I leaned to him over Mariota and backed the administrations feeling he was best for our team. Mariota may be successfull too if he can finish a season. Lol.
Go Bucs! Is it September yet?