Tuesday afternoon, following his Ring of Honor press conference, former Bucs great Derrick Brooks stopped in the media room and spent 30 minutes with the local writers discussing a number of topics.
One of those topics was FSU quarterback Jameis Winston who has been plagued by a number of poor decision-making occurrences over the last year, with the most recent being last week when the Noles top signal caller was cited for shoplifting seafood from a Tallahassee Publix supermarket.
Brooks, who was an All-American linebacker for Florida State (91-94) before becoming a first-round draft pick of the Buccaneers in 1995, and now sits on the Board of Trustees, weighed in on the Winston situation.
Counseling Florida State players is something Brooks does on an occasional basis, but told the media he hasn’t had a chance to sit down with Winston since the last incident.
“There is a time and place for that,” Brooks said. “[FSU baseball coach] Mike Martin and Jimbo Fisher, they have a support system in place to help him. He’s in uncharted territories. We have never had a Heisman Trophy winner this young in his career. The previous two quarterbacks, they were [seniors] leaving, Charlie [Ward] and Chris [Weinke].
“Our seniors this year – it was a senior-oriented team. These youngsters have to learn how to handle success. We have not had this type of success in a long time. In the last two years, the guys that have handled it are leaving. So the young guys that are having [success] are learning how to deal with it.”
Brooks went onto discuss the differences between when he played at Florida State and the roster that won the schools first national championship since 2000.
“Yeah, we knew how to deal with it in the early to mid-90s because that was the expectation year-in and year-out,” Brooks said. “We knew how to carry ourselves. They have to learn how to handle success and that is the bottom line. It is bigger than Jameis. It’s just not him because he is the Heisman Trophy winner. All of them have to learn how to deal with success and do it together.”
Besides Winston’s situation, three Seminoles also reportedly failed drug tests at the NFL Combine in February. While Brooks didn’t mention Timmy Jernigan, Christian Jones and Telvin Smith by name, his thoughts on the situation could be made for not only Winston and FSU players, but young athletes across the country. In fact Brooks reminded the reporters in attendance, PewterReport.com included, that he was once involved in a scandal that brought negative attention to the Florida State football program.
“I am privy to what [FSU has] in store for them to do it and I like it,” Brooks said. “There is nothing wrong with falling and getting up. Let’s not forget I went through some of the same things with a rule we never knew existed [Foot Locker incident]. And 12 years later I am on the trustee board.”
Brooks again reminded the room that Winston still has time to turn things around.
“I will never make excuses for poor decisions,” Brooks said. “I’m not going to make excuses for a bad decision. Let’s leave it at one poor decision. There’s a whole lifetime of better decisions this kid is going to make. I’m living testimony of that. We are human beings. Sometimes we lose sight of that.”
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, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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