Buccaneers owner Joel Glazer said Jameis Winston’s problems—including when he was accused of groping an Uber driver in 2016—are in the past and the team will be moving forward with him as its starting quarterback.
“That situation is last year. It’s in the past,” Glazer told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times when asked whether Winston lied to the team about the accusation. “We’re looking forward, I know he’s looking forward. Our whole staff is looking forward. It’s all eyes forward to next year.”
Winston was suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season after a female Uber driver accused him of grabbing her crotch while she was driving him in Scottsdale, Arizona, in March 2016. No criminal charges were filed, but an NFL investigation found he acted inappropriately.
Winston will make $20.9 million in 2019 while playing on his fifth-year option. He will be an unrestricted free agent following the season, barring a long-term contract or him receiving the franchise tag before next March.
“It’s a big year for the Buccaneers,” Glazer said. “It’s a big year for [Winston]. Obviously, the quarterback position is an extremely important position. But I know Jameis. Jameis is up for any challenge and he’ll be ready.”
After his suspension, Winston ultimately wound up trading off the starting job with Ryan Fitzpatrick throughout the season. He threw for 2,992 yards and 19 touchdowns against 12 interceptions, playing in 11 games and starting nine.
“I think if you look at the last two seasons, it’s kind of been the tale of two seasons within the seasons with Jameis,” Glazer said. “Two years ago he was hurt, then toward the end of the year, you saw quality play on the field. Last year, after the beginning, comes back, towards the end of the year, plays well. We’ve seen it but it’s got to be consistent. But a year older, a year wiser and more experience.”
The Buccaneers signed Blaine Gabbert as Winston’s backup this offseason. However, it appears he’ll head into 2019 as the unquestioned starting quarterback with new coach Bruce Arians.