Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith defended the rookie after former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said the quarterback was considered an embarrassment by fans of the school.
“That’s a strong statement to make about any young man, that he is an embarrassment,”Smith told Ira Kaufman of the The Tampa Tribune. “Jameis Winston is not an embarrassment and I don’t think Bobby Bowden is speaking for Florida State in making a statement like that. Normally, when you’re in the family, you protect the family.”
Winston, the No. 1 pick in the draft, is widely considered to have elite-level tools, but his two years in Tallahassee were marred by a rash of untoward behavior and an accusation of sexual assault.
For their part, Smith said he and the Buccaneers are embracing their new franchise player.
“I went to a recent function with Derrick Brooks at his golf tournament and there were many former Florida State players there,” Smith told TBO.com. “They were all embracing Jameis — they were excited that one of their own was getting ready to possibly be a Buccaneer. To say that Jameis is an embarrassment, after all he did for the university … that’s disappointing.
“We don’t feel that way by any means. Coach Bowden is entitled to his opinion, of course, and Jameis isn’t perfect. None of us are. But I think Jimbo Fisher was proud of the job Jameis Winston did for his football team, and he coached him.”