Jameis Winston keeping in shape with youth football camps
With the end of mandatory minicamp Thursday, Bucs players have six weeks off before training camp, a chance to get away from football and relax before the long grind of an NFL season.
Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is filling some of that break with youth football camps, like his first Jameis Winston Football Procamp, which drew about 300 kids between first and eighth grades to Sunlake High School in Land O'Lakes on Monday.
"I'm bouncing from tent to tent, area and area to interact with all of them -- I've got to back in kid shape," joked Winston, who's already earned headlines for dropping 18 pounds in the offseason to be better conditioned for his second NFL season.
Winston's two-day camp is a for-profit venture, complete with corporate sponsors and costing campers $149 each, but he's also been active in free camps run by teammates, like receiver Louis Murphy's camp in St. Petersburg earlier this month. He'll be holding his first-ever "Dream Forever" free football camp for another 300 kids back home in Birmingham on July 1. He had Panthers receiver Devin Funchess as a guest at this camp, and will return the favor by working at Funchess' camp in his hometown of Farmington Hills, Mich., on July 9.
"The more camps I'm at, it helps me stay in football shape," Winston said. "Believe it or not, being out here all day long, having fun with these kids can keep you in shape. It's better than staying at home and not doing anything."
Winston said the youth camps bring out the big brother in him -- he's close with his brother Jonah and sees a lot of him in his younger campers.
"Ever since I had my little brother, I looked at the way my Dad raised me and I always looked at it like 'Man, I want to have a big brother,'" he said. "Any type of big brother influence I can put on any kid ... any type of effect I can have. ... Every one of those kids out there are like my little brothers. I'm just trying to have as much fun as possible and trying to engage with them."