Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday since serving a three-game suspension for allegedly groping an Uber driver in March 2016. He opened the press conference saying, "Did you miss me?"
Winston said told reporters that he is excited to be back and that he spent his off time with his family.
In Winston's absence, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick started the first three games of the season and led the Bucs to a 2–1 record. The 35-year-old became the first player in NFL history to throw for 400 or more yards in three straight games.
According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, both quarterbacks know who will start against the Bears on Sunday but coach Dirk Koetter isn't ready to publicly name the starter. Multiple reports have Koetter sticking with Fitzpatrick.
"We've had a lot of success and I want that to continue," Winston said. He added that he's "not a selfish player."
"I’m here to assist the best way I possibly can," he said. "My passion for this team, my love for this team goes beyond whether I'm out there throwing the football for this team or not."
After Buzzfeed News reported the March 2016 incident in November 2017, the NFL announced it was looking into the matter. The investigation determined that Winston touched the Uber driver "in an inappropriate and sexual manner without her consent," and violated the NFL's personal conduct policy. This resulted in the suspension.
While no police charges were filed, the driver filed a formal complaint with Uber and Winston was banned from using the service. Winston apologized to the driver after his suspension was announced.
The driver reportedly filed a lawsuit against Winston last week.
While a student at Florida State, Winston was accused of raping a female student. The alleged 2012 assault was not publicized until 2013 amid controversy of a cover-up by the school and Tallahassee police. The woman in that case, Erica Kinsman, sued Florida State and reached a settlement that would pay her $950,000. Winston was also suspended for half a game in 2014 for shouting a sexual explicit phrase in public.