TAMPA — Jameis Winston's filing of a countersuit against Zephyrhills' Erica Kinsman, who has accused him of sexual assault, won't be a distraction for the Bucs quarterback, coach Lovie Smith said Saturday.
"No, we do not think it will be a problem for Jameis to be focused on playing football here," Smith said at the end of a two-day rookie minicamp. "Not at all. We all have things that we're dealing with off the football field but guys know when it's time for football here and it's about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and doing our work here."
Winston, the No. 1 overall draft pick and former FSU star, threw more accurately on Day 2, hooking up for big plays to WR Kenny Bell. "It feels like we've been playing together for a while," said Bell, a fifth-round draft pick out of Nebraska. "Obviously, chemistry is something you have to build, but when you have a quarterback with that much talent, it makes your job a lot easier."
JOB INTERVIEW: Stephon Morris chose to try out for the Bucs rather than receive his diploma Saturday, more than two years after he played his final game for Penn State.
"That wasn't a hard decision," he said. "I've been waiting so long. I had a couple of workouts last year that went well but didn't sign with a team, and this call came out of nowhere. I just cried. Not only because I'm back on an NFL field but what a wonderful weekend. I'm about to get my degree in telecommunications, and I'm out here with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers."
The 5-foot-8, 186-pound cornerback was honorable mention All-Big Ten as a senior. He finished his collegiate career with 148 tackles, one interception and 13 passes defensed.
Highly recruited out of Washington, D.C., he struggled academically. "I guess when you're a young kid, coming from the Washington, D.C., area, that just kind of got to my head," Morris said. "Not on the football field, but as far as grades and things like that. … Being a true freshman and everyone asking where I was, that was kind of embarrassing. It took me a while, but I got back on it my junior year. My grades started picking up."
He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Patriots in July 2013. But a series of hamstring strains prompted his release. They brought him back four days before a preseason game with the Giants. But he reinjured his hamstring in the game and was done for the season. "I guess it was a blessing that I ended up being injured. Guess if I hadn't become injured, I might still be in the league but I would never have my degree," Morris said.
Said Smith: "I think you get your degree to get out in the real world and earn a living and all that and there's no more important of a job interview than being here this weekend. It's just unfortunate when you work that hard, you'd like for his family and all to see him walk across the stage and get his diploma. But I can see why he came here. He did a good job, and he'll eventually get that paper."
HELPING HANDS: Heidelberg University WR Donteea Dye signed a free agent contract after rookie minicamp. He's the first confirmed signing of the 27 tryout players. Dye, 6 feet, 195 pounds, had 14 touchdowns last season for the tiny Ohio school, catching 57 passes for 1,022 yards as a senior. He joins four other rookie receivers: Bell, Kaelin Clay of Utah and UCF's Rannell Hall and Josh Reese.