Last night I was standing on a rooftop in the East Village, freezing my metaphorical nuts off, listening as people carried on conversations about what they thought the new year would hold for them and the world. When this deeply hopeful conversation made its way around the circle of friends and landed at yours truly, I blurted out: “Jameis Winston will win a game in the MLB before he wins one in the NFL.”
Look, I’m not proud of this moment. Let’s just say the night had been chugging along for a while and the cold was affecting my cerebral abilities. But when you step back and think, it isn’t that crazy of a prediction. Winston has put on clear display for future NFL teams that he lacks the ability to make sound judgments (to say the least). When you consider all the controversies and close calls with both the school’s disciplinary committee and the law, it’s more amazing that Jameis Winston played 29 games at QB over the past two years for the Seminoles than it is that he went 28 – 1 over that stretch.
Jameis Winston is potentially entering the NFL at the worst possible time for his career. The NFL is entering a new post Ray Rice era in which teams want nothing to do with players that they can’t trust off the field. If you don’t believe me, then tell me why the Steelers haven’t picked up Ray Rice given they are without a running back for the playoffs. I, as well as every ESPN reporter, will be listening and watching very closely come combine time to see if Winston is actually as dumb as he appears to be. If he gives even the slightest indication to scouts that his life off the field will continue to be as troublesome as it has been over the past 2 years, I wouldn’t be surprised if his projected draft position plummets faster than the SEC’s credibility as a dominate force in college football.
Which brings me to my point: Jameis Winston had a 1.08 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings last season. After tonight’s loss in the Rose Bowl, Jameis said, “I’m just looking forward to baseball.” The MLB is where Winston belongs. He won’t have time to get into trouble if he’s playing 162 games a year plus another 6 weeks for spring training.
Jameis Winston desperately needs to be saved from himself. Baseball could be that salvation.