Jameis Winston called being drafted No. 1 overall in 2015 a “blessing,” but the second-year quarterback is relieved he’s on the other side of it now.
Instead of trying to impress teams during the Combine and Pro Day, and wait anxiously for his name to be called on Draft Night, Winston can relax this April and look forward to adding to the Bucs’ family.
No need for future Bucs to worry about rookie hazing, either. The unquestioned leader of the team says he’ll welcome new guys with open arms and encourage them to be themselves.
“I know when I came in, a lot of people have their guard up because they don’t know what to expect,” Winston explained Monday. “So I’m going to be like, ‘Bro, just be yourself.’ That’s the easiest way to have success in this league. I won’t be trying to pull no pranks on no rookies or anything like that. I’m going to suck them in because they’re going to be a part of this family.”
Last year, players’ claimed that Winston came in somewhat reserved, taking more of a backseat while observing how veterans conducted themselves. But as Winston became more comfortable around teammates and proved his ability on the field, he quickly established himself as a leader and face of the franchise. Winston doesn’t expect rookies to look up to him simply because of seniority, though.
In Winston’s eyes, leadership means to serve others and make those around you better. He’ll have to earn the rookies’ trust on the field, just as he did with his veteran teammates.
“If you try to push leadership on a guy, that guy is not going to want to follow you,” Winston said. “Me and the Chaplain, Doug (Gilcrease), we were just talking about how, biblically, what leadership means. And leadership means to serve others. As long as I can serve the guys around me, I feel like I’m doing a good job of being a leader to them and I know they’re going to want to do anything for me, just like I will for them.”
A big reason for the rookie class’s success last year, Winston claims, was because of their tight bond. He told reporters that they could expect even better from the 2015 class next season, and that they’ll work to initiate the 2016 class from the start.
“Hopefully we can spread that out and get this whole team as one big happy family,” Winston said. “That will be great for us.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org