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Humbled Jameis Winston says he put ego aside to join Saints

The former Bucs No. 1 overall pick says he will miss being a starter, but had to think about his family and career.
Jameis Winston on joining the Saints: "I’ve done some great things with the Bucs. I’m going to miss being a starting quarterback. But you never know what happens."
Jameis Winston on joining the Saints: "I’ve done some great things with the Bucs. I’m going to miss being a starting quarterback. But you never know what happens." [ Times (2019) ]
Published Apr. 29, 2020
Updated Apr. 29, 2020

TAMPA — Jameis Winston is going back to quarterback school.

That’s how he described his decision to join the New Orleans Saints, where he plans to study under Drew Brees and coach Sean Payton.

Appearing on Instagram Live with former Florida State quarterback Charlie Ward on Tuesday night, Winston said he has been humbled after five seasons as the starting quarterback in Tampa Bay.

Now he’s willing to start over. The Saints officially announced that Winston had signed a one-year contract Tuesday.

“I think being a part of the New Orleans Saints, being a part with Drew Brees, Taysom Hill, (coach) Sean Payton, (quarterbacks) coach Joe Lombardi, (offensive coordinator) Pete Carmichael Jr., when you think about that room, I mean that’s like a Harvard education in quarterback school," Winston said.

“I wanted to put my ego aside, put the money aside and think about my family, think about my career. It was no better position than to be in the same room with someone that I’ve really looked up to, someone that I admired since I’ve been playing this game in Drew Brees.”

Related: Stars? Duds? Where does Jameis Winston fit in the list of No. 1 QBs?

Winston led the NFL with 5,109 passing yards last season and threw a career-high 33 touchdowns. But he also led the league with 30 interceptions while losing five fumbles. That resulted in 112 points off turnovers, the most in the league.

No terms of the contract were announced. Winston said his decision was not financial, but about improving as a quarterback to secure his future in the league.

“Just understanding where I’m at in my career,” said Winston, when asked why he chose New Orleans knowing he couldn’t compete for the starting job with Brees. "I’ve done some great things with the Bucs. I’m going to miss being a starting quarterback. But you never know what happens. I think this is just a great and unique step to join Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints and learn from him. Learn from one of the best to ever do it and make a great transition in my career.

“There’s a proverb. Humility comes before honor. So I have to humble myself and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be with Drew Brees and be with the New Orleans Saints and just prepare. Just prepare for when my next opportunity is going to present itself."

Related: Jameis Winston ‘will learn more in a year with New Orleans than he has in his lifetime': Saints exec

The Bucs signed Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to a two-year, $50 million contract. Winston, meanwhile, said he has just been preparing for the season and wondering when his next opportunity would come.

“I wasn’t waiting. I was preparing," he said. "And I love how you define patience. Because a lot of people, especially our Christian brothers and sisters, they’re big fans of let go and let God. Not only do you got to let go, but if you’re going to let go, God needs to see your actions. He needs to see your faithful steps. So I’ve just been preparing, I’ve been in the weight room. I’ve been on the football field throwing. I actually teamed up with some of my old ’Noles, Kenny Shaw and Rashad Greene a couple weekends ago and just been preparing for this opportunity.

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“It’s been a very humbling experience. But God always wins. He always has that last move so I’m blessed to be in New Orleans now."

Winston sounded excited to join his new team.

“Now I’m officially a New Orleans Saint,” Winston said

“Who dat, who dat, who dat all the way! Yessir. At least I don’t got the garnet, but I got the gold all the way.”