Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston was the happiest person in the building on Wednesday after being away for the last three weeks, serving an NFL suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. The former Heisman Trophy winner talked about his time away and what it was like returning to the team this week.

Below is the full transcript from his press conference.

(On being out)
“I think the most important thing is being back in the building. Yesterday was kind of an off day and I got in about 5:30, so I didn’t see a bunch of smiling faces coming in, but today everybody came back energetic and it felt like home. So, I’m excited to be back.”

(On how the team played in his absence)
“Oh man, I mean, what do you think about it? So happy that we had some successful games and we’ve got to keep it up and we’ve got to continue to go out there and win football games.”

(On Fitzpatrick’s success)
“I practice with him every day. This guy hasn’t been playing in the league for 14 years for no reason. Plus, when you add the weapons we have outside and the hardest workers in our building is the offensive line and when they’re protecting like they are, you can do nothing else but go out there and light it up. I’m excited for Fitz and I’m excited as a whole. As a team we’re playing very good.  Like I said, I’m excited to be back in the building and we’ve got to keep it up.”

(On willingness to sit behind Fitz)
“Again, the most important thing is the success we’re having. I’m back and I’m more excited about that right now.”

(On his workouts while suspended)
“I did my best impersonation of what it would be like as an in-season schedule being here. I got the guys from the Orlando area, Ft. Lauderdale, Lakeland, Louis Murphy even came out there and I threw him a couple passes, I brought him out of retirement and we just went to work. I didn’t want the guys in this building to be working hard and I’m not out there doing my thing. Other than spending a lot of quality time with my family because I didn’t have a chance to spend time with my Buccaneer family we did a lot of great things. After every practice I catered meals with my teammates just so I can have that team bonding that I miss here. I feel like we had a good plan together.”

(On all of those guys coming out to help)
“It was very exciting. I love those guys and I owe everything to them because they helped me prepare and it even boosted their confidence a little bit, getting a chance to work in an NFL system and go out there and compete against each other. It was practically like a little minicamp. We did it over at Skyway and a little at USF, it was exciting.”

(On learning from Fitzpatrick by watching him)
“I’ve learned from Fitz ever since he’s been here. As a team we’re playing very well. I wanted to be a part of that and now I am a part of that so now it’s going to be great and be fun.”

(On self-reflection during suspension)
“Well this happened two and a half years ago and over the course of me being a franchise quarterback here, or supposedly a franchise quarterback, I’ve learned a lot. I love this community, I do all I can do help this community prosper by going and building dream rooms, going to different community events, being around my teammates and I’ve been working hard ever since I stepped foot in this building.

“I got a little bit of that last year when I was injured. Any time you’re away from the building you have a different perspective, but I definitely think I hit on that by spending quality time with my family, my three month old son on Saturday has definitely changed the perspective on my life that football can’t do.”

(On watching this team from home)
“I think it’s exciting. I’m at home and sometimes you don’t want to hear the people in your house so I’ve got to get to a place by myself because I’m all in it, but it’s exciting. We’re having a lot of success and I want that to continue and I know it will. With me being back, nothing’s changing. I’m just happy that I can be a part of it. I’m happy that when we get a win I can come off and dap guys up and celebrate with them. I think that’s the part that you miss, that team bonding because we do this together and it’s tough getting wins.”

(On the excitement around Fitzpatrick)
“Yeah, I saw the beard but when the guy throws for 400 yards three games in a row you’ve got to love that. And as a community we’ve got to get behind this team because when we’re winning and things are going good we’ve got to capitalize on that. I’m just happy to be back. I’m happy that now I can be a part of it, I’m not watching from a distance, I can be here with my teammates.”

(On if the Bucs choose to stick with Fitzpatrick)
“It’s about the team’s success. I’m not a selfish player. We’re out here doing big things and we’ve got to continue doing that.”

(On how painful it is having football taken away for these reasons)
“I’m grateful for the opportunity I get to play football. I think it’s a privilege to play in this football league. At the same time, it makes it so much easier when we’re winning week to week. I think what hurts is, again, not being a part of that. Right now I’m just focused on moving forward and do some more celebrating with the team.”

(On his agent decision)
“Joe is a good agent, I feel like we had a good bond and I’m excited to work with him.”

(On the QB situation)
“I’m here to assist in any way I can. My passion for this team, my love for this team goes beyond whether I’m out there throwing the football for this team or not. Like I said, it’s my first day back. Let me enjoy that before I start answering any more questions about that.”

(On winning back fans)
“I feel like every day is a learning process and you’ve got to continue to build the trust of these fans but right now we’re having some fun and we’re winning and the more we win the more the fans will come back.”

(On how he feels physically)
“I had some coaches come in. I did a real thing. I had George Whitfield come in, I had John Beck come in, so I got my individual work. I had my trainer Otis Leverette come in, he’s my personal trainer. We worked hard. I went to work. Like I said, I couldn’t let these guys outwork me even though they had the facilities and everything. I was fine with the skyway, doing our thing out there.”

(On what he did yesterday at the facility)
“I just came in, got a workout in, soaked everything in about being back in this building, prayed to the lord like, ‘Lord thank you for giving me this opportunity again and help me take advantage of it.

“Before our last preseason game I got a chance to address the team and I told them, I don’t expect us to be any less than 3-0. Look at the game last night, we had it. This is what I expected. Obviously it’s a tough situation, but it’s a win-win situation. We’re in here, balling hard and we’re winning. The community is behind us, I’m happy, everyone is happy. You guys are happy, as long as we’re all happy we’re good.”

(On what he learned about this team)
“There’s nothing much I learned about them, I knew how good we are, but it’s very impressive seeing your team on TV. Sometimes I watch the TV copy when I’m breaking down film, but being able to watch your team on TV and have a smile on your face looking at everybody, like all the haters out there watching us shred everybody… it was fun.”

(On Monday night’s game)
“If we had won that game, at 12 o’clock I was allowed to be around the facility and be there for my teammates, so I was looking at the clock at 12, hoping we would get back and win that game and I would have been there dapping my guys up.”

(On if he’s addressed the team)
“There’s no need to. After every game I know I texted my guys and told them congratulations.”

(On the first teammate he saw)
“M.J. Stewart. M.J. Stewart was the first guy I saw.”

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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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3 years ago

I think some of the media questions were trying to trick him into indicating who was starting this week, but Jamies didn’t fall for it.

What is your opinion on who is starting this week?

Reply to  Wausa
3 years ago

Looks like NFL Network is saying Fitzpatrick is starting.

3 years ago


Reply to  BucWild02
3 years ago

Supportive. Team focused. Not petty in any way. I will NOT be shocked if he starts on Sunday.

No controversy. Win or lose, he is the best chance the Bucs have to win every week.

3 years ago

“…supposed franchise quarterback?”

Michael Prayon
Michael Prayon
Reply to  buddah
3 years ago

I don’t think he was being sarcastic or a smartass about it. I think he was being humble. Either way I don’t think it’s that deep and you shouldn’t think too much of it bro.

Buc-n-Philly Fan
Buc-n-Philly Fan
3 years ago

I especially liked this comment “like all the haters out there watching us shred everybody… it was fun “.

And that goes to the Winston haters and so called “fans”!!~!!

I love it!
Go Bucs!

3 years ago

Great comments from Winston as I knew they would be.
How many players have we heard who once they for suspended went out on vacation and bragged about it on twitter, Snapchat, or Facebook. Winston was sweating it out at Skyway Park or USF working on his game.
Anyone for a dose of Eric Wright.
Winston probably won’t start against the Bears but there is no doubt in my mind that at some point in time this season he wil be the starter again.

3 years ago

Putting everything else aside this is to me an easy decision for one reason –

You start Fitz because he either plays well (yay) or he plays poorly and you bring in Winston for second half to try to salvage it. Whereas if you start Winston and he plays poorly in first half after three weeks of self-imposed exile you… probably lose the game.