Dungy: Jameis Winston must be a leader for Bucs, all the time

Former Bucs coach Tony Dungy talks with Bucs center Evan Smith and general manager Jason Licht at Tuesday's practice.(MONICA HERNDON | Times)
Former Bucs coach Tony Dungy talks with Bucs center Evan Smith and general manager Jason Licht at Tuesday's practice.(MONICA HERNDON | Times)
Published August 14 2018

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will miss the first three games of this season while he's suspended, and former Tampa Bay coach Tony Dungy said his focus is what Winston can do to turn his current situation into a positive moving forward.

"I look at it as something my dad would always tell me … with the same phrase, all the time: 'What are you doing to do now to make the situation better?'" Dungy said. "I think that's where we are, and that's where Jameis is. We can look back on it and debate why it happened and all the negatives, but it's where we are, and what does he have to do to now to be that leader on and off the field that the Buccaneers need?

"He has to figure that out. He has to mature. He has to make this negative situation and turn it into a positive. I saw some things on the field today that led me to believe that's what he's trying to do. Now he has to carry that off the field as well. It can be a positive."

An NFL investigation determined that Winston violated the league's personal conduct policy by touching an Uber driver in Arizona in March 2016 in an "inappropriate and sexual manner without her consent."

RELATED: Dungy on Jameis Winston: 'He knows the right things to do'

Dungy talked to the current team for about 20 minutes on Tuesday, reminding them that fans and especially children in this community look to them as they learn how they should develop off the field.

"I mentioned that to the players: I have five boys still in the house, and they look at these guys and they watch everything they do," Dungy said. "They want to be Buccaneers. They want to mimic everything these guys do, and the players have to understand that. They have a chance to be tremendous role models and a tremendous, positive influence. Hopefully, that's the case."

Dungy has talked with Winston in the past, and said he recognizes so much good that Winston does in the community, spending time with children. That work can't be offset by a poor decision.

"For Jameis, he has to be a leader all the time," Dungy said. "He's a great leader on the field. He's a great leader in the locker room. He's a great leader when he's here. Now, he has to take it on his shoulders to lead off the field and away from the building as well. I'm praying he'll do that."

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