Jameis Winston has become the ultimate villain to most football fans across the country. I believe Winston is the type of player you love to have on your team, but hate the most if he's playing for anyone else. Now that he is in flux as to where he might play in the NFL, it appears as if the "hate" is about to come at him from all angles.
Jason La Canfora of CBSsports.com wrote an amazing piece on the mental and physical beating Jameis Winston will take over the next few months leading up to the draft.
"Next week in Indianapolis, and the few weeks to follow will be bad. Character assaults will be the norm and Winston's legal problems at Florida State and his high interception totals and him being suspended for the Clemson game will create a climate of anything goes. And, I believe, in the end, ultimately, hopefully, none of what is uttered or written by those on the periphery will amount to nothing much. So much of the crap that's slung around eventually gets peeled away, layer by layer, as the face-to-face elements of this process play out and owners get to know these players and deeper dives into their makeup and background get completed."
We live in an era where average fans, like you reading this right now, have unlimited access to information and access into celebrities lives. Much like sharks, when there is blood in the water, most of you attack. That is exactly what naive media members and fans have done to Jameis Winston. He was a highly touted prospect out of high school who made some mistakes during his college days and now is repeatedly attacked on a daily basis.
Is he a bad person?
Most of you would probably say yes. I'd be curious to know exactly how many of you that did say yes also have had the chance to have a conversation with Winston himself.
I'm not here to lecture you on how most people make mistakes in college, but I know that I made my fair share of mistakes in college that might turn you off from reading what I have to say right now. The difference is that I was a nobody in college, while Winston was a celebrity the day he signed with Florida State. I'm sorry, but just because recruiting and Signing Day have gotten out of control and make these 4 and 5 star recruits celebrities, does not mean that they are ready to be in the spotlight.La Canfora goes on to say that the ignorant people throwing their own assumed criticisms of Jameis Winston are the people who have no idea exactly who Jameis Winston is.
"Too many people who I know and trust who know him too well -- the real him; the behind-the-scenes him; the meeting-room him and the practice field him and the locker-room him -- have vouched for him for me to believe Winston is not a franchise-wrecker."
"What he is, I've been told, is a driven leader, a gym rat, a football lover who has been steeped in an NFL-style offense. He reads defenses well and he's asked to run Jimbo Fisher's demanding pro style offense where nothing less than excellence is tolerated. And Fisher will be a tremendous advocate for him, and has already told any NFL type who asks exactly what he thinks of this kid and his ability to win games at the next level."
And for those of you that think the Bucs should take the "safe" route and avoid Jameis Winston at all costs, Jason La Canfora has a message for you too.
"Winston will rise and shine the deeper teams get into exploring what he is all about. He will look, more and more, the part. And he will have a strong rookie season with the Bucs, with some decent offensive talent around him, and he will save Lovie Smith's job and engender some positivity and hope in a franchise that has been fairly dormant for quite some time. (And we can debate whether or not the Bucs should use that first pick or even use it on a quarterback, but in the end, job security generally reigns and Smith knows that a promising rookie quarterback has bought many a coaching staff another year or two on the job even despite another losing season.)"
Everyone pretends to be an expert this time of year. For this Bucs fan, I hope La Canfora is exactly right when he says "positivity and hope" will return to the Bucs.
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