“It’s Going To Be A Tough Time For Me”

August 31st, 2018


He has no idea.

Jameis Winston is bracing himself to serve a three-game suspension. He thinks he knows the challenges ahead, but he’s still on the outside, looking in.

Soon, waves of guilt will wash over him.

As he stood at his locker for a few minutes after Thursday night’s preseason finale, Winston vowed to work his tail off during his exile.

He will.

He’s going to throw footballs until his right arm aches, but those balls won’t be caught by Mike Evans or Cameron Brate. He’s going to spend extra time with his baby boy and fiancée, but at some point in the next three weeks, Winston will realize just how much he misses One Buc Place.

Then and only then will Jameis Winston come to grips with what he’s done. That’s when the depth of his poor judgment on that fateful Arizona night will hit home.

Winston screwed up. He screwed up big-time.

Total Support

When he addressed teammates earlier this week, he offered no excuses. He vowed to regain their trust through sweat and dedication.

“Since this process started, he stepped into the background a bit instead of being the Jameis we’re used to,” said the longest-tenured Buc, Demar Dotson. “He led from the back instead of from the front. Jameis told us he’s going to miss being around us, but the show has to go on.

“This ship has to keep rolling. No matter what, he’s going to come back with a chip on his shoulder. This will drive him and show the naysayers who are out there saying you should get rid of him.”

Missing games due to a bum right shoulder is one thing. Missing games because of a bum decision is quite another.

He’ll watch Tampa Bay’s season opener in New Orleans and root like heck for Ryan Fitzpatrick, but make no mistake — Winston is bound to experience pangs of remorse while the pewter gang attempts to spring a major upset against a division rival.

“It was a difficult situation for Jameis, but he handled it as best as he could have,” said Keith Tandy. “He addressed the team to get that awkwardness out … and he definitely needed to do that. I have no doubt he’ll be ready to go when he gets back.”

The exact date of that return is uncertain.

Team First

We know when Winston will be reinstated to the active roster, but it’s unclear when he’ll start again under center.

It’s not Winston’s call. That’s an organizational decision, based in large part on how the team is playing under Fitzpatrick’s direction.

“Who knows how things will go?” Winston said. “Hopefully, it goes great. I’m very appreciative I’ve had support from the owners on down. It’s going to be a tough time for me, but I’m going to get over it. I love this community and no way in the world I’m stopping.”

When Winston returns, he needs to play well. More importantly, he needs to prove himself as a winner on the pro level.

This isn’t Tallahassee, where your guys are simply better than their guys. This is Tampa, where your guys have annually owned the division basement.

If Winston goes 5-8 and drops to 23-35 as an NFL starter, it won’t be character issues that give this franchise pause about bringing him back for 2019.

As Winston stands at the crossroads, he’s seeking a path to redemption. The next three weeks will be brutal for him, but as Dotson noted, the ship has to keep rolling.

Captain or no captain.

Now in his 40th year covering the NFL, Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in the Tampa Bay area. He scored a full-time seat at JoeBucsFan.com world headquarters in July of 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also hear Ira on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio Wednesdays at 5 p.m. during football season. Also a TV star, see Ira now on Mondays at 10:30 p.m. on Spectrum Sports 360 (aka BayNews 9). Ira also is part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday NFL show and enjoys beet salads, Riesling, tennis, Chiefs victories and needling Joe.

24 Responses to ““It’s Going To Be A Tough Time For Me””

  1. jmarkbuc Says:

    Sorry but hard for me to sympathize with how tough this is gonna be
    for Jameis.

    These kind of articles should not be here… For everybody’s sake. Including JW’s. Let’s move on without him for three weeks.

  2. Jolly Bucs Fan Says:

    Why tell the bears who to gameplan for.

    Jameis will start week 4. Bucs wont announce it regardless of how good/bad fitz is.

  3. Joe Says:

    These kind of articles should not be here… For everybody’s sake. Including JW’s. Let’s move on without him for three weeks.

    Respectfully disagree in a major way. The franchise quarterback won’t be available for the first three games which may be the three toughest games of the year. It significantly impacts not just the whole season, but also this entire organization and very well could cost people their careers.

    That is not something to ignore or brush under a rug in the least.

  4. Bucsfanman Says:

    Great read Ira! It’s NOT just the off the field stuff. He needs to prove it on the field too. Whether we care to accept it or not, this is a team game and as such Jameis is as responsible for 5-11 as any other player on the roster.
    If he can manage the team when he returns and get us our long-awaited playoff berth, he will remain a Buc.
    I’m looking forward to seeing what Jameis, and more importantly, this team can do.

    Jmark- I’m with you in that I have no sympathy for Jameis, he made his bed. We just have to move on at this point!
    Go Bucs!

  5. Bucsfanman Says:

    Before I exit, I just wanted to remind fellow posters that the Fanman family is Hokie Alum! Virginia Tech Alum!
    Therefore, I apologize in advance to the families of FSU fans. Take solace in knowing that it is because the Noles QB’s name is Francois that FSU has no chance.
    He’s French for pete’s sake! What the heck do the French know about football?!!!

    Go Hokies! H-O-K-I-E-S, Hokies!

  6. jmarkbuc Says:


    Respectfully disagree in a major way. The franchise quarterback won’t be available for the first three games which may be the three toughest games of the year. It significantly impacts not just the whole season, but also this entire organization and very well could cost people their careers.

    That is not something to ignore or brush under a rug in the least.


    Yep, everything you say there is true. But we all know whose fault that is.

    The only exception , for me, is the last line.

    This story has been going on for months now, discussed ad nauseam, backwards and forwards upside down and right side up. Don’t think there is any chance it got swept under the rug or ignored….

    What is done is done and JW is the reason we are in this predicament. Please forgive me if I want to move past him for a little while. Again I absolutely have no sympathy for him.

  7. Season Is Over Says:

    ” It’s going to be a tough time for me, but I’m going to get over it.”

    No one cares or remotely feels sorry for him. This is a self-inflicted scar. This three game vacation will be picnic compared to the flack he receives if his suspension tanks the season. A possible 100 million dollar mistake.

  8. Tony LA Says:

    Great article.
    However, it reminds me of the fact that this team’s biggest problem is that it always focuses on hope of what might happen rather than planning on what is likeliest to happen.

    It’s the reason Licht misses on a lot of 2nd round picks. He’s overlooking glaring flaws and red flags in the hopes that those magically go away and the best case scenario plays out.

    And the most damning version of this decision is the team putting their trust, their season, and their careers in the hands of Ryan Fitzpatrick.

    I know what the Bucs and, thus, Buc fans HOPE will happen. But what is most likely to happen based on Fitz’ career track record?

    Zero playoff appearances in his entire career. 4 head coaches fired after he started the season as the starter. Complete meltdowns in all of the handful of meaningful games he has played. Twice has led the league in interceptions. Has the worst career winning percentage of any QB to start 75 games or more. Was exhibit A by more than a dozen players when they expressed disbelief that Fitz had a job while Kaepernick did not. Licht even admitted on live TV last night that Fitz should have lost the backup job last season except for the fact Griffin was injured.

    Nothing I said above is false.
    So why are the Bucs putting all of their chips on him in one of the most pivotal years in recent franchise history? Someone explain this to me in a way that makes sense.

    So many lives are about to change – an entire franchise could be set back another 5 years because of this single decision.

    The most likely thing to happen is that this 3 game Fitz ride ends in utter disaster. History has told us that. But let’s just do what the Bucs and Licht and Koetter are doing and close our eyes and cross our fingers and hope that something that has never happened in Fitz’ career all of a sudden happens for the first time against the toughest opening slate in NFL history.

    Makes perfect and logical sense.

    Go bucs

  9. gambelero Says:

    If the Glazers are smart, they’ll sign him to an extension now. I said earlier that it would be a $50m mistake to wait. Now, I’m thinking it would be a $60m to $65m mistake to wait. Winston would look at it (a willingness to sign him long term) as a sign of loyalty and support. Obviously the contract would be voidable if there is another suspension.

    A lot of you will say. “Who cares about the Glazers money?” Well it’s our (the fans) money too, because it (the savings) comes off our salary cap. Think about what $50-$65 million will do for our roster over 5-6 years. It’s just about a Djax a year or a Calais Campbell minus a Bruce Carter/Gosder Cherilus/Doug Martin/Robert Ayers for four years.

  10. Phil Says:

    Of course Jameis will start when he comes back. Why wouldn’t he? He is the best quarterback we have ever had period. He’s getting ready to sign a $200 plus million dollar contract soon.

  11. Bucsfanman Says:

    Tony LA- You can make a pretty sound argument that Fitzy wasn’t SOLELY responsible for all of that. Look at the TEAMS he was on. IMO, THEE reason the Bucs chose Fitz over Griffin was TRUST. They trust in his experience.
    None of what you said is untrue, to that I agree. I think Kap is a better QB for sure. What I don’t agree with is the sentiment that Fitz will be the factor that dooms the season. That “honor” falls squarely on the coaches.
    This team lacked balance last year and couldn’t stop up a toilet! They sure stank though! If the TEAM goes 0-3, it’s not going to be because of ONE guy!
    The Bucs have had to rebuild this team from scratch, practically. I guarantee that is a factor in keeping Fitz and Griffin on the roster. They’ve had to fill more holes than Swiss cheese and could ill-afford to blunder MORE draft picks or FAs.
    Fitzy did his job as a backup in coming in and winning a couple of games. It doesn’t matter WHO they were against because he doesn’t get to choose. For that, I think he has earned their trust and mine, to be frank.
    They need him to be steady, they don’t need him to win games. This 3 game stretch will tell the tale of this coaching staff and their ability to call plays and adjust to the opposition. They’ve had all offseason to prepare. There are no excuses!

  12. rrsrq Says:

    I think Jameis can have an awesome year and lead this team to the playoffs when he comes back but he will still likely be franchised, he is not going to get the money he would’ve gotten and he knows that, so he will take one for the team, bet on himself and he also knows by taking one for the team, that allows the Smith, Marpet and Alexander contracts to get done (depending on what happens, D-jax, if he has a stellar year, contrary to popular opinion, he may be back – Watson, Hump, Godwin will still have reasonable contracts. (Unless we trade him for Khalil Mack and our number 1 next year)

  13. Dooshlarue Says:


    Signing JW for less now sounds great in theory.
    The problem is if he starts playing lights out then do you think he stay motivated and happy with his low $ contract?

    I hope he turns it around soon, but if I’m the Glazers I’m fine franchise tagging him for 2 years if need be until comfortable that the hoped changes are permanent.

  14. Buc believer Says:

    Winston’s 22-35 would still be much better than Jason Gumps 22-42 record Ira. Which will be even lower than that by then.

  15. jmarkbuc Says:


    This 3 game stretch will tell the tale of this coaching staff and their ability to call plays and adjust to the opposition. They’ve had all offseason to prepare. There are no excuses!
    Spot on…Belichick and the Pats covered Brady’s 4 game suspension ..no problem and used 2 different QB’s. Of course, this staff ain’t that staff, but they’ve had ample time to prepare.

  16. Destinjohnny Says:

    He is down to his last chance
    Let’s hope he doesn’t blow it

  17. Pryda... sec147 Says:

    I think at this point it’s all mental take advantage of these weeks and be productive! Hopefully he has grown up when he plays again which I predict is week 4

  18. i like gunslingers Says:

    hey ira, how bout this organization, produce what has been our tradition and heritage since their inception, a freaking defense, that can stop the run and get the QB, jameis has the stats, jameis is the best damn QB we have ever had yeah i.ve been covering them from home as long as you have ira, since 1976 damn’itt i’m 55 and seen it all with my beloved team, mike smiths defense sucks, just say it, our kicking game sucked, our running game sucked, the young man needs help, as good as this offense is and we have not ever had this potent an offense ever, our defense couldn’t stop brandon high school at times come on man

  19. stpetebucsfan Says:

    “Spot on…Belichick and the Pats covered Brady’s 4 game suspension ..no problem”

    Belicheat did have Garapolo…gota second round pick for him…if Ryan Griffin is the next Garapolo then we’ll be fine…if not…then we have to hope Fitz has a season like he did with that ten win season for the Jets. The Jets had an excellent defense that year. Do we have an excellent defense?

    I have NO definitive answers for those questions but we won’t know until they tee it up for real.

  20. GhostofSchiano Says:

    What Gambeloro said…….agreed

  21. Dapostman Says:

    Keep all and any articles coming Joe. I feel I don’t need Jmarkbuc or anybody else to tell me exactly what I need to read, thank you very much. I am old enough and FREE enough to make my own decisions on what I choose to read. Keep up the good work Joe!

  22. Jaycee Says:

    Bucs will win with Fitz, Bucs will win with Jameis when he gets back, will have a career year and be playoff bound.

  23. Buc1987 Says:

    i like gunslingers…gets it!

  24. Mike Johnson Says:

    Not a real big Jameis fan BUTT..I got him turning the corner on this one. I do beleive the Light finally turned on for him after this last Shinannigan. I got him comin back on fire. People are like flowers. Some Bloom early, Some bloom late..and some never bloom at all. I got jamesi bloomin and takin off from now on. We shall see!