While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roll along behind veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick’s red-hot start to the 2018 NFL season, Jameis Winston may have been close to landing in more hot water. The former No. 1 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft is currently serving a three-game suspension, but a recent decision nearly created an issue based on the terms of his discipline.
As Peter King revealed in his Football Morning in America story on Pro Football Talk, Winston sent a group text to Buccaneers receivers after their Week 2 win.
When Tampa Bay players came back to the locker room after conquering the Super Bowl champion Eagles at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday afternoon, the receiver group found a group text on their phones. “Awesome game!” was the message … from Jameis Winston. Of course, Winston is missing the first three games of the season because of league discipline stemming from his alleged groping of an Uber driver in 2016, and Ryan Fitzpatrick has Tampa Bay off to a 2-0 start with the kind of quarterbacking that’s put Winston’s starting job in jeopardy. “That was great to hear from him,” said wideout Mike Evans from the Bucs’ locker room. “Jameis did an awesome job in camp, and he supported Fitz all the way. But he’s a team guy.”
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport revealed suspended players are not allowed to discuss football strategy with club personnel, but Winston is in the clear with this text. As Rapoport cites, Brian McCarthy from the NFL league office revealed players are allowed to send personal messages.
Jameis Winston’s Current Suspension
The Buccaneers quarterback was handed down a three-game suspension by the league after an investigation into allegations that he groped an Uber driver, per SB Nation. The league revealed the suspension due to a violation of the personal conduct policy.
Following the news of the suspension, Winston released a statement on the decision and offered an apology, per Ian Rapoport.
“First and foremost, I would like to say I’m sorry to the Uber driver for the position I put you in,” Winston said.. “It is uncharacteristic of me and I genuinely apologize. In the past 2 1/2 years my life has been filled with experiences, opportunities and events that have helped me grow, mature and learn, including the fact that I have eliminated alcohol from my life.
“I know I have to hold myself to a higher standard on and off the field and that I have a responsibility to my family, community, and teammates to live above the platform with which God has blessed me. I apologize to my teammates, the Buccaneers organization and fans for letting them down and for not being able to be out there for the first three games of the season.”
While Winston is set to miss one more game, the Buccaneers offense has hummed along without him thanks to Fitzpatrick. The 35-year-old quarterback has completed an incredible 48-of-61 passes for 819 yards and eight touchdowns over the first two weeks. In turn, leading the team to a 2-0 record with wins over playoff teams from last season in the New Orleans Saints and Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
The real question becomes whether Winston will receive his job back when he returns from suspension.