1. Bucs

Bucs' season not a success for Jameis Winston

Published Dec. 29, 2016

TAMPA — Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston says that even if his team beats the Panthers on Sunday and finishes with a winning record — two things he wants — he will not consider the Bucs' season a success.

"For the organization, for fans, you know, a lot of people are happy," he said Wednesday. "But the mentality of this team, our ultimate goal is to win playoff games, win Super Bowls. … It's exciting that we've got a chance to have a winning season. But that's not something we're aiming for at the beginning of the season. We're aiming for the highest, and I think as long as we keep raising the bar, that's the better we're going to become."

The Bucs have an extremely slim chance of making the postseason; their scenario includes a tie between the Redskins and Giants on Sunday.

Winston needs 267 passing yards to eclipse Andrew Luck's record of 8,196 for the most yards passing by a player in his first two seasons. His next touchdown pass will break Josh Freeman's season team record. But Winston said personal goals and statistics don't drive him.

"What drives me is winning games for my team," he said. "What's going to drive me is to see us go out there against Carolina and … giving all we got and bringing home a win for these home fans."

bucs TRANSACTIONS: Running back Charles Sims was put on injured reserve with a pectoral injury, and fullback Austin Johnson was promoted from the practice squad. The Bucs also signed former Alabama quarterback Blake Sims to the practice squad as a running back, and former Northwestern defensive end Deonte Gibson. Offensive lineman Kyler Kerbyson was released from the practice squad to make room.

Kuechly won't play vs. Bucs: Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he won't play All-Pro middle linebacker Luke Kuechly on Sunday with Carolina out of playoff contention and his star defender recovering from a concussion. Kuechly was cleared from the NFL's concussion protocol three weeks, but Rivera has elected not to play him as a precautionary measure. Rivera said the decision about what is best for the team's long-term future.

Bengals: Receiver A.J. Green (hamstring) won't play Sunday against the Ravens, leaving him 36 yards shy of joining Randy Moss as the only NFL players to top 1,000 yards receiving in each of their first six seasons.

Bills: Former Seminole EJ Manuel will start at quarterback in place of Tyrod Taylor on Sunday, which may not bode well for Taylor's future in Buffalo. Interim coach Anthony Lynn called it "a business decision" and said he "wasn't in the room" when the decision was made. He said he couldn't speak for general manager Doug Whaley or owner Terry Pegula. As whether he had a preference for who starts, Lynn said the team wants to gauge its depth at quarterback and Manuel is the next quarterback up. Whaley wasn't commenting.

Browns: Coach Hue Jackson said he hoped quarterback Robert Griffin III could be medically cleared from a concussion to play Sunday against the Steelers.

Broncos: Linebacker DeMarcus Ware (back surgery) and cornerback Kayvon Webster (concussion), a former USF standout, were put on injured reserve.

Ravens: Pro Bowl receiver Steve Smith said Sunday's game against the Bengals probably will be the last of his 16-year career. Standing in front of the media wearing a Darth Vader costume, Smith said he was "about 89 percent sure," referring to his uniform number, that Sunday would be the end of his stellar career. At 37, Smith is the oldest receiver in the league. He is seventh in NFL history with 14,697 yards receiving and 12th with 1,028 receptions. This year he is third on the Ravens with 67 receptions and second with 765 receiving yards, and leads them with five touchdown receptions despite missing two games with an ankle injury.

Titans: Quarterback Marcus Mariota had surgery on his broken right leg, and team officials said the procedure was successful. Mariota broke the leg Saturday against the Jaguars. He faces about five months of rehabilitation.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.


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