Jameis Winston won't be rooting for his favorite childhood NFL team on Sunday. Instead, he'll be playing against them as the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As discussed before on Bleeding Green Nation, Winston grew up as a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. Speaking to Philadelphia reporters in a conference call on Wednesday, Winston said he idolized the likes of Donovan McNabb, Brian Dawkins, Randall Cunningham, and Brian Westbrook.
Jameis Winston: "I’m an Eagles fan … I’ve been saying ‘Fly Eagles Fly’ my whole life."— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) November 18, 2015
Jameis says he doesn’t know the full lyrics to the Eagles fight song, however.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) November 18, 2015
Winston also shares a special relationship with a current Eagles player. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft is from Bessemer, Alabama, which is also the hometown of linebacker DeMeco Ryans. Winston said Philadelphia's defensive captain has mentored him at times during his life.
Last year, when Winston had legal/disciplinary issues, Ryans stayed in touch w/ Winston.The two will be on the field against each other Sun.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) November 18, 2015
The legal issues referenced here include, but are not limited to, rape allegations made against Winston during his time at Florida State. Winston was never found guilty, but history certainly isn't on his side. The rape investigation conducted by the Tallahassee Police Department was flawed. None of this prevented the Buccaneers from deciding he was worthy of being the face of their franchise.
Winston has had an up-and-down rookie season with Tampa Bay so far. He ranks near the bottom of the league in completion percentage and passer rating, but Buccaneers fans are encouraged by his progress. It's a safe bet that Winston won't take it easy against his former favorite team this Sunday. Likewise, the Eagles will be looking to advantage of the rookie in order to get back to a .500 record.