Thank You, Jameis Winston
Five years ago, I was sitting in my living room watching the 2015 NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were on the clock and it was an off-season filled with who the Bucs were going to pick at number one overall. When the time came and you were the pick, it excited all of the fan base. The Bucs have never had a quarterback like you. I enjoyed the way you threw the ball and the way you never gave up on a play.
I loved your toughness, your will to win, the confidence you displayed no matter the circumstances. It was truly spectacular to watch. In your time as a Buccaneer, you continued to display the same qualities that you did coming out of college.
In your rookie season when the Bucs hosted the Atlanta Falcons and it was do or die time, the Bucs needed to score a touchdown. It was third and long and when all hope was lost, one of the most amazing things I have ever witnessed as a Bucs fan was you running to try and get a first down surrounded by the opposition and appeared to have been tackled. Next thing I see is that you spun off of the defenders trying to tackle you and you just kept running and eventually got taken down but after you were able to get the first down. Seconds later, you went on to throw the game winning touchdown to Mike Evans. That was a rarity in Tampa Bay.
It was so exciting to watch. In your five years, you continued to make plays like that when times seemed impossible you made it possible. You broke every franchise quarterback record in Bucs history. Like everything, nothing lasts forever and situations are put into our life and meant to overcome and I know how hard you work and how much you just love the game of football. I know you will get another opportunity in the league and will make the most of it.
Aside from being a great person on the field, you were even greater off the field. You gave so much to the Tampa Bay community. You dedicated countless hours and money to help give back to the community and become a role model to so many people. I wanted to personally say thank you and give others who feel the same way a platform to do so.
“Back on December 10th, 2017, the Buccaneers played the Detroit Lions in Tampa. I live just south of Detroit and my entire family are all Lions fans. Also, December 10th just happened to be my 18th birthday. As a birthday gift, my family took me down to Florida to see the game and I wore my Winston Bucs jersey to the game. After the game, we were walking to get food alongside the players parking lot and we decided to wait around the parking lot to see if we could see some players. Finally Jameis Winston came out of the stadium and he took some time to talk to some family and then he talked to a junior football team. While this was going on, my family and I were screaming Jameis’ name for an autograph not thinking at all that we would get one. A team executive walked up to us with a Buccaneers flag and gave it to me and said that Jameis probably wouldn’t have the time for us. We kept trying though and Jameis eventually got into his black f-150 and we finally got his attention. He reached into the center console of his truck and autographed a golf ball and bounced it to me over the fence. Funny enough, I was a senior in high school at the time and preparing to play division iii golf in Ohio.”
Adam (Buccanidiots podcast)
“I have nothing but love and respect for Jameis Winston the football player and man. It pains me that he will be continuing his football journey elsewhere. But he’s not leaving us without some awesome memories. My favorite all time Jameis Winston play was during the 2015 season, Week 13 against the Atlanta Falcons. Game on the line, down by 3, 3rd and 19 at the Atlanta 43 yard line and Jameis does the impossible. Words can’t describe the play so check it out here 52 seconds in.”
“I lost my dad to cancer in May of 2015. My family has been diehard FSU fans and diehard Bucs fans. Both my older Bros went to FSU. In fact, my oldest brother was in charge of Seminoles.com and traveled with the team to the games. He got to know Jaboo well, I was always so jealous of him with tears of joy. But in April 2015, a month before my dad passed we were all in his hospital room with him watching the draft and it was everything we wanted and more. Our favorite player, from our favorite school, to our favorite team. Match made in heaven. Jameis is much more than just my favorite player. I watch him and am immediately brought back to that amazing moment in my dad’s room, embracing each other because of how happy we were to have that happen to us. I’m sad because I view Jameis as family because of that. I can’t believe this is happening.”
”I sat in the stands completely shocked during this series of events wondering what just happened and thinking to myself that the future is here.”
“My first time attending a Bucs game was against Atlanta in 2015. I’ll never forget seeing Jameis get tackled on 3rd and 19 and sitting down, losing all hope for the game winning drive, only to see Jameis get up and continue running for that first down. The energy was amazing.”
“I remember being 15 watching Jameis being drafted and I knew he’d be one hell of a player. In just his 2nd year, he led us to a 9-7 season and I just knew he’d be talented. Just so talented. If he would’ve gotten some help in the run game and the o line and the defense he could’ve taken this team to the top of the mountain. Hope he succeeds elsewhere.”
“Thank you Winston for giving it your all week in and week out and never complaining. We will never forget the effort, the leadership, and the will to win regardless of who took the field with you!”
“At training camp in the offseason, all of the vouchers for guaranteed autographs were gone. Jameis was the only autograph my 5 year old daughter wanted. Jameis signed autographs for the entire line right up until practice started. While he was signing my daughter’s jersey, she told him that her dogs name is Winston too. He could’ve ignored it like I’ve seen many athletes do but he looked at her and laughed and told her “I bet he’s a good boy”
“The time Jameis Winston took a picture in Miami with my son and me! Humble gracious and an overall good dude! Wishing nothing but the best for you!
“Jameis Winston, you’re a great guy and tremendous teammate as well as leader. I thank you for all the countless hours you put into your craft and the team. I’m sorry this team failed you in your first 4 years and put a load on you that was more than any QB should have to carry. I hope you find great success somewhere else and I won’t actually hate it if you get a ring with another team, because I’ve never seen a QB dragged thru the mud like you and left for dead. I actually won’t hate it if you beat us down the road as Karma always comes back on this team and you deserve some closure in that regard. Take Care JW3”
“Jameis, you have my unwavering support wherever your career takes you. Throughout history, fans have NEVER stuck by quarterbacks when the teams they lead don’t find success. The fact that you have so many die hard believers should tell you something. Personally, I’ll never forgive the Bucs for allowing you to venture on. But putting my selfishness aside, I know it’s what’s best for you. You always deserved better, and we all look forward to watching you thrive elsewhere.”
“I would like to take this time to thank not only Jameis Winston the player but also the person. I remember watching you being showcased in High School and thinking this kid is going to be special. You went on to choose to play quarterback at my favorite college FSU and lead them to a national championship and a 26-1 record in your time there. I was waiting on the opportunity for the Bucs to draft you with the 1st overall pick in the 2015 draft after going 2-14 and they did. I was ecstatic. You made my three years being stationed overseas in Japan worth it. The memories that you gave us in Tampa in your 5 seasons will never be forgotten. The unbelievable playmaking ability that you would make when it seemed like nothing was there was incredible. The Atlanta game scramble on 3rd and 19, the heave to Mike Evans after running for your life in the Chicago Bears game, and many many more that would take a lot of time to talk about. All everyone wants to talk about is the negatives with you but they fail to look at all the positive that you did on and off of the field. On the field, you broke all of the Buccaneer franchise records and some NFL records and even led the league in passing yards last season with over 5,000. Off of the field, you were such a positive influence on so many people in the Tampa and Alabama community with all of the charity work and money that you’ve donated over the years. The Dream Rooms that you helped fund and build in Tampa show exactly the type of person that you are and what you stand for which is the future. Your time in Tampa as the franchise QB may be through but we won’t forget it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Jaboo and I wish you luck wherever the journey takes you next. I’ll be following very closely.”
Ryan Jensen (credit to Jenna Laine of ESPN)
“Battling with Jameis the last two years has been some of the most fun I’ve had playing football. Not only did we become teammates but also good friends over the last two years. This business is always tough and just that – a business, I’m excited to see where Jameis lands.”
“One thing that comes to mind is day one in the building for me, I ran into Jameis and he came up to me and knew my name already and just made me feel welcome and that he was excited to have me there! He was always very nice and genuine! Just a solid and good human”
Community Work in Tampa Bay:
Hillsborough County School System
Alexander Elementary School
Twin Lakes Elementary School
Mike Evans Foundation
Bullard Family Foundation
The Skills Center
Tampa Boys and Girls Club
Tampa Bay Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
New Beginnings Veterans Home
Louis Stephens Youth Group
Legacy Prep Academy
Men in the Making
Jameis Winston Dream Forever Foundation
Never Goodbye, Only See You Later:
It is apparent how many people and lives you have touched and changed over the last five years as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer on and off of the football field. You are a great person, father, husband, teammate, friend and so much more. Wherever you go, you will always have support from those near and far.
Thank you for everything Jameis!
Featured Image Credit: Kim Klement- USA Today Sports