The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did the time-honored NFL thing by cutting their final minicamp practice on Thursday short. The coaches let the players off early if the kickers each made four field goals in a row. They got ice cream afterward. Just about every team does something like this at the end of minicamp.
Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston didn’t want practice to end early.
“Jameis [was] the one guy in the huddle who wanted to keep going,” Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said, according to Jenna Laine of ESPN.com.
“Jameis — no one has higher expectations for his performance than he does. I mean, he’s aiming to be elite, not just one of 32. And because he has such high expectations, and we have high expectations, it’s a never-ending process.”
The end of minicamp is akin to the last day of school for NFL players. When it ends, there are a few weeks of down time before training camp and the long grind starts. But Winston wanted more work, so he stayed late.
— Mark Cook (@MarkCook1970) June 15, 2017
If one wants to believe this is all for show, that’s fine. Many players know where the cameras are and how to cultivate an image. But this tale fits with Winston’s reputation since he came into the NFL. Excuse the cross-sport reference, but he’s a gym rat. Many stories have been written about Winston practicing or working out at off times to get better. Combine his desire to be great with his exceptional physical talent, and he’s a good bet to be one of the NFL’s next superstar.
It could all come together for Winston this season, his third in the NFL. The team signed DeSean Jackson, the deep threat the Bucs didn’t have and Winston needs. They drafted Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, another perfect fit with Winston’s talents. If you want a dark-horse MVP candidate, it’s the guy who was staying late at Buccaneers minicamp practice Thursday after the coaches said everyone could leave for a few weeks of vacation time.
Leaving TB. Guessing I'll be back a few times. Expectations high. Jameis to Brate on way off field yesterday: "Let's go win the Super Bowl."
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) June 16, 2017
Expectations are rising for Winston and the Buccaneers, but he seems ready for it.
– – – – – – –