Jameis Winston gets another shot.
Officially confirmed the New Orleans Saints starting quarterback, the former No. 1 overall pick by Tampa Bay last started a game with the Bucs on Dec. 29, 2019. On Sunday, when Winston takes the first hike under center, it will mark 623 days since that start.
The 27-year-old signed in New Orleans last year as a backup to learn behind Drew Brees in hopes of getting a chance to take over for the future Hall of Famer. After beating out Taysom Hill for the starting gig, Winston has the opportunity to author a rebirth of his career.
“It’s just fun,” Winston said Wednesday, via the team’s official website. “It’s a blessing. It’s a blessing to have this opportunity to lead the pack, and I’m just grateful for it. It’s been more than a year removed for me having the opportunity, and I’m not taking anything for granted. I’m just blessed, and grateful.”
After the Bucs moved on after five up-and-down seasons with Winston at the helm, the former No. 1 overall pick needed the year to pick up the pieces. Winston famously struggled with turnovers and bad decisions in Tampa but flashed a big field-stretching arm. In the right system, Winston’s talent could flourish. He might have just found it alongside Sean Payton.
“It felt great,” Winston said of being named the starter. “I think the whole training camp, we made each other better and this team grew while we were competing. I was blessed to get the nod and I’m just grateful for that. I’m grateful for my teammates for pushing me, I’m grateful for Taysom for pushing me and us helping each other get better.”
All the glowing offseason reviews of how he’s improved his decision-making, however, will go for naught if Winston reverts to his pre-Saints tendencies. The march to prove he can be an upper-echelon NFL starter for the Saints begins Sunday in Jacksonville against the Super Bowl-contending Green Bay Packers.
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