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Bucs' Jameis Winston quickly finds chemistry with 8-year-old receiver

Jameis Winston (3) signs autographs for fans following practice Friday at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
Jameis Winston (3) signs autographs for fans following practice Friday at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
Published Aug. 8, 2017

Jameis Winston stayed after practice Tuesday to throw a few extra passes to Cameron Brate, Alan Cross, O.J. Howard and someone hoping to one day latch onto an NFL roster.

That player? Eight-year-old Michael Vernon II of Brandon, who was a mere autograph seeker until Bucs assistants invited him onto the field.

It can take some time for a quarterback and a new receiver to develop chemistry, but Winston and Vernon got on the same page in short order. After Winston's first three attempts fell incomplete, he tied up Vernon's oversized red Bucs t-shirt, which was touching his knees. Then he told his receiver to "put your head down and run."

On his next pass, Winston hit Vernon in stride, the ball landing softly in his outstretched arms.

"I was happy," Vernon said afterward, with a grin from ear-to-ear.

Even after his touchdown Tuesday, Vernon said he's not planning to change positions. He wants to be a quarterback.

Jameis Winston celebrates a touchdown pass with a future #Bucs receiver. pic.twitter.com/kGzwtVgPfS

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