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TALLAHASSEE (AP) — Jameis Winston has flashed enough Heisman Trophy talent on the field to become worthy of the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.
It’s his dubious behavior off the field that has put his readiness for the pro lifestyle into question.
“I doubt that he is the first NCAA athlete to demonstrate that he’s immature and a knucklehead,” Winston family adviser David Cornwell said Friday. “Jameis is ready to be an NFL quarterback on the field, but he is not ready to be an NFL player off the field.”
Cornwell said most 20-somethings aren’t mature or prepared enough to handle the demands and distractions of NFL life.
Winston announced in January he was entering the NFL draft, leaving behind a tumultuous college career that included a lengthy sexual assault investigation. Tampa Bay could make Winston the No. 1 pick in the draft later this month.
Winston was cleared of wrongdoing by FSU following a two-day hearing last year to determine whether he violated sections of the student conduct code. A Florida prosecutor chose not to press charges against Winston, who shined last month at Florida State’s pro day.
In April 2014, he took $32 worth of crab legs and crawfish from a Tallahassee Publix. He said he forgot to pay, but agreed to and completed 20 hours of community service. He was briefly suspended from the baseball team, where he is a relief pitcher.
Winston was suspended for one football game in September after he climbed atop a table in a Florida State lunchroom and yelled an obscene phrase.
Cornwell spoke Friday at Villanova University for a program that was part of the Jeffrey S. Moorad Sports Law Journal Symposium.
“I refuse to run from the fact that as a 21-year-old man, he’s not as ready as he’s going to be,” Cornwell later told the AP. “That’s why we have the resources to make him ready.”
Winston took steps to prove he was set to change. Cornwell said it was Winston who requested a meeting last month with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Cornwell said Winston spent the day at the league office meeting with officials in all departments from the public relations to a conversation with Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president for football operations.
“We provided the NFL with every transcript, with every document, and all of the briefs in the case, so they had a clear understanding of all the issues,” Cornwell told the AP. “Particularly the ones that weren’t reported. Jameis didn’t rape her. It’s just that simple. It’s getting out the full story. They want to know it’s behind us. We think it is.”
Winston set the national freshman record in 2013 with 40 touchdown passes while throwing for 4,057 yards and 10 interceptions and leading the Seminoles to the national title. His numbers dropped last season after losing his top two running backs, two starting receivers and his starting center. Winston threw for 3,907 yards, with 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, in 2014.
Winston has since been working with quarterback guru George Whitfield, who has cleaned up the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner’s mechanics.
Asked by ESPN analyst and panel moderator Andrew Brandt if Winston would be the No. 1 pick, Cornwell said: “Book it.”
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