Jameis Winston ‘not ready to be an NFL player off the field,’ says his attorney
In candid comments surely to cause a stir, David Cornwell, Jameis Winston’s attorney, said that his client has all the tools to be a productive NFL player on the field but may lack the maturity to be a competent one off of it.
“He’s ready to be an NFL player on the field,” Cornwell said of Winston, who is presumed to be a top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, if not the number one overall selection. “But he’s not ready to be an NFL player off the field.”
Cornwell was making an appearance on Friday at Villanova Law School to discuss the media coverage of Winston’s sexual assault case, which he universally condemned. But he also spoke at length of Winston’s NFL readiness.
All of the attorney’s comments were transcribed by BuzzFeed’s Joel D. Anderson and posted to his Twitter account.
Commenting on Winston’s upcoming transition to the NFL, Cornwell said the league isn’t for the faint of heart or weak of will.
”This league will chew you up, spit you out and keep going,” he said.
Cornwell added it’s up to those who comprise Winston’s inner circle to support him and foster an environment where the quarterback can mature.
“We have to assist him in growing and developing as a man,” he said. “And it’s not going to be easy.”
Cornwell credited Winston for possessing “incredible self-awareness,” specifically pointing out how it was the quarterback’s idea to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a few months ago. The attorney did note, however, when discussing the meeting that if Winston “messes up again, he’s done.”
Anderson later clarified his comments to Anderson by stating Winston may have some growing up to do but that does not mean he’s not NFL-ready.
“I don’t see why it’s controversial that a 20-year-old doesn’t have the life experience to navigate the treacherous waters of being a professional athlete without availing themselves of the resources available to them,” Cornwell argued.
Winston obviously had more than his fair share of off-the-field issues, controversies and troubling conduct while at Florida State, most prevalent of course being his sexual assault case. Winston was never charged and was cleared of any violations of the school’s conduct code related to the incident.
How his troubles at FSU will impact whether or not the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select him with the first-overall selection is unknown, but to hear it from Cornwell, that eventuality is a lock.
“Book it,” Cornwell said about Winston being the top pick.