For a guy who says he isn’t driven by money, Jameis Winston suddenly has a lot of it.
Winston reached quick agreement on his first NFL contract, signing a day after being drafted No. 1 by the Bucs. There will be no lengthy holdout. There will be no acrimonious negotiations. Winston, for all that is good and bad about it, is a Buc.
Reports said he signed a four year, $25.35-million contract with a 16.7-million signing bonus.
“I’m rich off happiness,” Winston said. “The only thing I worry about is taking care of my family. I’m not motivated by money. Not at all. I want to grow old playing this game. It’s not money.”
Winston, of course, might need cash to deal with the civil lawsuits he is facing concerning sexual improprieties. But so far, the only thing that he has invested in has been a chair.
“I bought my grandmother a $2,000 chair, a love chair,” he said. “A recliner. She was sitting on a wooden box with pillows on it. I’m motivated for the love of the game. I’m so happy (negotiations) are over. Now I can concentrate on playing football.”
Winston made his first official trip to Tampa Friday, holding a team press conference where he tried to withstand questions about having to win fans over. With all of the controversies of his college days, there are as many questions about Winston as there have ever been about a No. 1 pick.
At one point, Winston was asked what he would say if he ran into a fan in public who said he was not in favor of drafting him.
“I will smile,” he said. “I can’t say anything to a person who doesn’t want me to be picked, because they’re not in charge. Eventually, their mind will be changed. Action speaks louder than words. Perception is reality. They don’t even know me.”
Winston was asked if it was important to him to be a great player for the Bucs.
“It’s important to be a great man in the community,” he said. “I strongly believe that’s why they won when Derrick Brooks was here. Look at how he got involved in the community. He was a great spokesman for that team.”
Winston never answered questions directly about the charges except to say he was interested in speaking about positives. He did say that he appreciated the faith the team had shown in him.
“I’m just so grateful,” he said “I feel like it’s my responsibility to help them out. I believe that’s why I’m here today, just to get involved in the community, to be a great Buccaneer and keep growing as a man.”
Winston had a misstep in that direction. After being drafted, he put a message on social media with him posing with an order of crab legs. General manager Jason Licht denied the Bucs had forced him to take it down.