Jameis Winston praises Ryan Fitzpatrick upon return from suspension
Jameis Winston was back with his Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammates on Wednesday upon his return from a three-game suspension. And the Bucs signal-caller diplomatically praised Ryan Fitzpatrick for the veteran’s superb work in his stead, saying, “This is what I expected.”
“I’ve seen the beards,” Winston said of how fans have rallied around the scraggly bearded Fitzpatrick, via ESPN. “When a guy throws for 400 yards three games in a row, you’ve got to love that, and as a community, we’ve gotta get behind this team because when we’re winning, when things are going good, we’ve gotta capitalize on that.”
Winston appeared intent on not rocking the boat, especially given how well the Buccaneers played in his absence.
“The most important thing is the success we are having,” Winston said. “I’m just happy to be back, man. I’m happy that I can be a part of that. I’m not watching from a distance. I can be here with my teammates.”
It’s unclear at this time when or if Winston will supplant Fitzpatrick and reclaim his starting quarterback role with the Buccaneers. Although a report that surfaced Wednesday suggested the Bucs will roll with Fitzpatrick at least in Week 4.
#Bucs have a 3-day roster exemption for QB Jameis Winston, who is on the Commissioner’s Exempt list. They don’t have to make a roster move until Friday. Don’t expect a QB announcement soon based on competitive reasons. But all signs have pointed to Ryan Fitzpatrick continuing on.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 26, 2018
The decision, if that’s how things play out, is beneficial in two respects: One, it allows Winston to ease himself back into the fold. Secondly, it gives the Buccaneers another chance to see if the 35-year-old journeyman can reclaim the “Fitzmagic” demonstrated in leading the Bucs to two opening wins while putting up monster numbers.
Fitzpatrick struggled a bit in a 30-27 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night, throwing three first-half interceptions. However, he did top 400 yards passing for the third straight week to go along with three touchdowns while leading a furious rally that just came up short.
Winston on more than one occasion appeared more inclined to fit in and celebrate the team’s success at this point as opposed to being an instant distraction.
“Me being back — nothing’s changed,” Winston said. “I’m just happy that I can be a part of that.”