While Buccaneers fans rush to their computers and phones to order Tom Brady jerseys, left behind is the man Brady has replaced.
Jameis Winston doesn’t know what his future holds, but he does know it won’t include starting at quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That job now belongs to Brady, but intriguingly, Winston sees the identity of his replacement — a future first-ballot Hall of Famer — as a compliment to himself.
"Well one thing you can learn about me is my faith. I have tremendous faith in my Lord. One thing about Tom Brady, it’s understood that he’s the G.O.A.T.," Winston said during an appearance on FOX News. "For you to get replaced by Tom Brady in a city that you love so much, I guess that’s kudos to me.
"But at the end of the day, it’s a competitive sport. We’re all in the business. I’m excited for whatever opportunity may hold and eventually I’m going to have to play the Tom Brady’s, the Patrick Mahomes’s and all the other great quarterbacks eventually. That’s how you win Super Bowls and that’s what I want."
It’s difficult to leave a community about which one cares deeply, and Winston has continued to make efforts to better the greater Tampa/St. Petersburg area even after it became clear he wouldn’t be returning as the Buccaneers’ starter in 2020. He could have a chance to work his way into becoming a starter elsewhere, though, if returning to Tampa as a backup doesn’t end up happening. There are teams that will need a quarterback for the future, and at 26 years old, Winston still has a lot of football left in him.
That second chance, wherever it may come, could pit him against a Mahomes or another premier quarterback before long — maybe even before Brady retires. Winston will just have to figure out where he’s headed, and then begin his improvement in a lower-profile role. After spending the initial months of his offseason undergoing surgeries to improve his eyesight and repair injuries suffered in 2019, he should be ready to go.
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