Brennan: Jameis Winston brings good and bad to NFL

On the very day his university was sued in federal court because of a rape allegation against him, Jameis Winston declared himself eligible for the NFL draft, meaning college football’s problem just became the NFL’s.

The man who was the subject of the rape allegation that was all but ignored for a full year, who stole soda from a Burger King and crab legs from a Publix, who was handcuffed for possession of a BB gun and who screamed a vulgarity while standing on a table in the Florida State student union – all accomplished within less than two years — is now joining the NFL.

In this season of all seasons, that seems fitting. With all the trouble the NFL has seen, why not add Winston to the mix and hold your breath?

He comes with experience, and not just in football. Unlike some of the bad apples in the league who didn’t get into trouble until they got there, Winston enters the draft with a resume already loaded to the brim with all kinds of run-ins with the authorities. Rest assured, NFL general managers. This guy knows how to talk to the police.

He even left Florida State with a parting gift: that federal lawsuit, filed Wednesday by the woman who accused him of raping her in 2012, alleging that the school violated her rights under Title IX, the federal law that mandates prompt, thorough and impartial investigation and adjudication of reports of sexual harassment and assault.

So as Winston dashes off to the NFL, the fans, alums, administrators, coaches and teammates who blindly stood by him will now have something to remember him by other than all those wins and a national title.

Winston, who turned 21 on Tuesday, won’t be the first controversial and troubled Heisman Trophy winner to join the NFL. The last few years, it seems as if that’s just about all that college football has pumped out. Cam Newton and Johnny Manziel come immediately to mind.

Newton, who was embroiled in various trouble at Florida and Auburn, including a massive recruiting scandal in which he was briefly suspended, has been a robust success in the NFL, guiding his Carolina Panthers into the second round of this season’s playoffs.

Manziel, who was suspended for half a game for his role in an alleged autograph-selling scandal and later proceeded to make a fool of himself with his behavior on and off the field at Texas A&M, was a bust in his rookie year in Cleveland. Who knows what’s next for him, but we’ll all be watching.

Like Manziel, Winston found plenty of controversy in college. Unlike Manziel, he has serious size (6-4, 230) and, very likely, serious pro talent.

So he’s all yours now, NFL. What club will feel confident that he will grow up, shed his immature (and even criminal) behavior and become a fine NFL quarterback? Someone will. Perhaps several. Maybe most.

Tampa Bay has the first pick. Tallahassee, where FSU is located, is only about a four-hour drive from Tampa, so the Buccaneers have had a front-row seat for the Winston show the past two years. Caveat emptor, indeed.

Off the field, we are keenly aware of Winston’s college record. On the field, we are too. Winston won 26 consecutive games at Florida State before losing his last, a miserable 59-20 loss to Oregon in the College Football Playoff semifinal in the Rose Bowl last week.

Hope springs eternal in the dead of winter in the NFL. The draft is less than four months away. Winston is coming. What he brings with him – good and bad – is likely to make headlines for years to come.

Source: MSN Sports

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