Quarterback Jameis Winston went to each teammate in the locker room prior to the Bucs' preseason opener Friday at Cincinnati with one message: "I got your back."
Then he proved it.
After being told backup quarterback Ryan Griffin had suffered an injury to his right throwing shoulder, ending his battle for the No. 2 quarterback job with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Winston spotted two backup offensive linemen yucking it up on the bench.
Winston approached offensive linemen James Stone and James Harrison, who were seated on the sideline, talking and laughing. He then sarcastically told them he was glad they were having fun while Ryan was being attended to in the locker room by the Bucs medical staff.
"I'm happy y'all are having fun, but Ryan just hurt his shoulder. So keep having fun,'' Winston said.
Ryan suffered a sprain on the AC joint in his shoulder and will miss several weeks. Stone and Harrison quickly changed their demeanor and knew better than to respond to Winston, who dismissively turned and walked away.
But in those few moments, "Hard Knocks" cameras captured the kind of determined leadership that Winston demonstrates each day. Sometimes it's subtle. Sometimes sarcastic. But always strong.