Lovie Smith 'comfortable' making Jameis Winston face of franchise
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith said he is comfortable with former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston becoming the face of his franchise.
Smith, who said he was prepared to move forward with Mike Glennon at quarterback after the team cut veteran Josh McCown last week, addressed Winston's off-the-field issues during a press conference at the NFL combine in Indianapolis on Wednesday. Winston, who is expected to be one of the top picks in April's 2015 NFL draft, could go to Tampa Bay, who owns the No. 1 overall selection.
Winston was accused of sexual assault by a female Florida State student in December 2012. In November 2013, the state's attorney announced that it was investigating the accusation against Winston. Authorities did not file charges, citing a lack of evidence.
Winston was also cleared in a Code of Conduct case at Florida State, in which it was determined he did not violate up to four school student conduct codes.
Winston also was cited for stealing crab legs from a Tallahassee grocery store and was suspended for one game last season when he was seen yelling obscenities in the Florida State student union.
"He went through the school justice system," Smith said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "He was cleared. He went through our court system and he was cleared. Exonerated."
Smith said that Winston should be not condemned for the mistakes he made in school.
“They’re bad decisions and believe me, he’s been drug across the mud," Smith said.
Winston completed 65 percent of his passes for 3,907 yards, 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions during the 2014 season at Florida State. He only lost once in two full seasons as the Seminoles' starting quarterback.
Winston is expected to participate in throwing drills at the combine.
- Scooby Axson