The biggest misconception coming out of last year’s draft were the character concerns of Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston. No, not that they really existed but the character issues that were portrayed by several if not nearly all of the media were out of line, misleading readers and passing down the blinders.
Winston was no stranger to headlines. From the ever-changing script of the sexual assault allegations to the crab legs incident, people were quick to point to Winston as being a problem that will give whatever team that drafts him a headache. Orlando Sentinel’s George Diaz is one of them.
Last year, Diaz wrote the following story: Jameis Winston could become NFL misfit like Johnny Manziel. He cited “character and maturity issues” to support his baseless claim. Was Winston too polarizing of a college athlete that older generation writers and reporters, like DIaz, felt that the Florida State standout was always out of line? It’s fair to assume that is the case.
On Sunday, Diaz changed his tune as he is now writing that Winston has answered character concerns.
Before any skeptic starts the eye roll — what’s the big deal? — well, it kinda is. Winston began his career with a lot of ambient noise. Screams for the Bucs to ignore him and take Marcus Mariota. Pleas from journalists to skip the potential headaches. Crab-leg jokes cluttering cyberspace, as well as Winston’s misogynistic turn in a video meme that went viral his final season at FSU.
Winston has since shut down most of the noise. For comparison’s sake, check out recent headlines involving another college kid and NFL prospect labeled a problem child — Johnny Manziel.
In a year, Diaz has gone from labeling Winston as the next Johnny Manziel to being a good character guy. I guess kudos to him for writing a positive spin on Winston after the constant flow of nonsense towards the young signal caller last offseason. (Note: He’s still comparing him to Manziel.)
However, Diaz still can’t shake the thought of Winston being anything but what he always assumed Winston was as he still holds some doubt saying Winston has shut down “most” of the noise. What noise?
There was never any real character issues for Winston. Only for those that envision college athletes wearing khaki pants or plaid skirts with white button down shirts and a tie that live their lives by the book. You know, an alternate realm that isn’t reality. What never hit the mainstream press was how Winston turned down parties or rarely visited his college friends because he had film to watch. As sources told TBC last offseason, Winston is a “nerd” for watching game film and studying his next opponent which took a good amount of time away from his social life.
Things like that have translated into Winston’s professional career. He has left his college days where they belong. He had his fun, just like we all did in college. He’s always been focused on what he is chasing and that’s greatness on the field. This isn’t a different version of Winston we are seeing, just one that the press has nothing left to say about him.
He is making the detractors eat their words. It’s unfortunate they just don’t come out and admit it.