Jameis Winston talks to SI about Lovie, Koetter, season ahead
Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has politely declined to talk to local media since the week after his rookie season ended -- not a word after Lovie Smith's firing, not an interview after Dirk Koetter's hiring, not even after winning Pepsi Rookie of the Year at the Super Bowl -- but he's downright chatty with SI's Peter King in a lengthy Q&A discussing his rookie year, Smith's firing, Koetter's hiring and the season ahead.
"People are looking up to me basically as a springboard for the Tampa Bay community," Winston says of his place in Tampa. "Every time I go out and I have chance to make a difference or make someone smile, I try to do that to the best of my abilities. In college, I could try to do that, and no matter what, it would mean something, but everyone just wanted something from me. Give me that, Jameis, gimme, gimme, gimme. In the NFL, I can be myself, and everyone doesn’t have their hand out. In the NFL, I wasn’t the best player in the league. I just do what I do."
Winston talked about him assuming a leadership role as a rookie, suggesting he almost did so by default -- that the veterans on the team weren't vocal in the huddle.
"I became the main voice, because nobody else said anything," he told King. "It was basically just me and Kwon in the huddle, and we were talking and trying to get guys pumped up about the game."