#Saints’ Jameis Winston: ‘I’m one of the best quarterbacks to play the game’

#Saints’ Jameis Winston: ‘I’m one of the best quarterbacks to play the game’

June 9, 2020 | 1:28pm | Updated June 9, 2020 | 1:53pm

Jameis Winston hasn’t lost his swagger. His confidence is still there. His struggles haven’t taken that away. His expected role as Drew Brees’ backup hasn’t changed that, either.

“I know what I’m worth,” Winston, 26, said in an interview with Bleacher Report. “And I know day in and day out, without publicly coming in and saying it, that historically I’m one of the best quarterbacks to play the game.”

There were sky-high hopes for Winston, a Heisman Trophy winner and national champion at Florida State. He was the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. But he never quite figured it out with the Buccaneers, and last season he became the NFL’s first 30-interception quarterback since 1988. The Bucs released him, shortly after signing Tom Brady. Nobody was willing to bring him in as a starter, and so he’s starting over, trying to prove that was a mistake.

Winston had to settle for a one-year, $1.1 million deal with New Orleans.

“It’s a love of the game, bro. It’s bigger than me,” he said. “Do I feel like I’ve earned my stripes? I do. Do I feel like I’m better than a lot of starting quarterbacks in this league? I do. But God has a plan that I haven’t even thought of yet. I have to respect this game first. Respect is earned.

“So if a team believes I’m not good enough to be their starting quarterback, OK, let me earn my way back up. I’ve done it my whole life. It’s not like it’s just starting to happen.”

Winston underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in January and has gone vegan, to get into better shape. He’s down to 225 pounds, from 242. He’s working on cutting down on his interceptions and had his eyesight fixed, getting LASIK surgery.

“My entire life, I’ve been a winner,” said Winston, who led the Buccaneers to 28 wins in 70 starts over five seasons.

“Little League football. Middle school. High school. College. Obviously, the NFL is a little more difficult. But I’ve been a winner. I don’t want to be viewed as a loser. It’s going to come. It’s going to happen. This is something I’ve been fighting for my entire life. Building up to this. If people think I’m just going to lay down and give up because of a few losing seasons, that’s never going to be the case.

“There’s people talking about me like I’m an old, washed-up quarterback,” Winston said. “Like I’m 40 years old! I’ve got so much life. I’ve got so much energy, man.”


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