Bucs’ Lovie Smith defends Jameis Winston after Bobby Bowden’s comments

By: Associated Press

Jameis Winston’s new coach has his back.

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.”

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