INDIANAPOLIS—Jameis Winston took his first steps toward becoming the first pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, when he spoke directly to the Tampa Bay Bucs with these words: "My job as a quarterback is to be the face of the franchise. I have to win games and win Super Bowls. Whatever's behind me is behind me. It's a new face."
Winston came to the podium at the scouting combine on Friday and spoke before a question could be asked of him.
"I know I made mistakes. I know I have a past, but right now it's about moving forward and earning the trust of these 32 teams," Winston said.
Actually, he only needs to earn the trust of the Bucs, who own the first overall pick of the draft. He would seem to be the perfect fit for a team desperately in need of a face to its franchise. In this case, it would be a home-state face.
Winston's football career at Florida State has been punctuated by championships and trouble. He was accused of rape and cited for stealing crab legs. For the second consecutive year, the combine's top interview grabbed headlines for nefarious behavior. Last year, it was Johnny Manziel.
"A short memory will give you a long time in the NFL. I don't think of any negatives," Winston said.
Reports on Friday were that Winston was experiencing shoulder weakness, but Winston said his shoulder was "great," and he would participate in passing drills at the combine on Saturday.
"I had an MRI like everyone else. I got the same shoulder I had the past two years at Florida State," he added.
Mostly, the questions he faced from the media focused on his checkered past.
"I plan on getting involved in the community and creating an image and putting everything behind me," Winston said.
What will he tell teams that interview him?
"I have to earn your trust … watch me grow to be the face of your franchise," he said. "I plan on winning the Super Bowl next year, so it's going to be Jameis vs. Peyton Manning or Jameis vs. Tom Brady," he added when asked about the competition with Marcus Mariota to be the first overall pick.
"A lot of people thought I was fat. I'm here proving everybody wrong. I'm looking good," he said.
He only needs to look good to one team.
ADDITIONAL COVERAGE - FEB. 20