Jameis Winston played another superb game, leading Florida State to a 31-27 back-and-forth victory over Notre Dame in an entertaining battle of No. 2 vs. No. 5, reigning national champ vs. the most storied of college football teams.
And yet, the Seminoles’ quarterback continues to draw more media attention for his off-the-field missteps than his consistently superb decision-making on the field.
To recap: Before he played in his first college game, he was handcuffed for allegedly firing a pellet gun near his apartment; then he was accused of stealing a soda from a Whataburger; then he was accused of rape; then he was convicted of shoplifting crab legs. As punishment, he had to do time mopping some floors in Tallahassee.
A few weeks ago he was suspended for a game because he shouted obscenities as he stood on a table in a cafeteria.
Most recently, he was suspected of taking cash for about a thousand autographs. No one has said he was paid, but it was suspicious that he signed a variety of numbered items. Some Las Vegas casinos were so worried of him being suspended again that they would not take bets on Saturday’s game.
So where does it all end? Does he end up like Ryan Leaf, the former quarterback drafted No. 2 (behind Peyton Manning) who’s served time in prisons in Montana and Texas for burglary?
Will he be another John Randle, the Dallas Cowboys backup running back who last week was arrested for shoplifting a bottle of Gucci cologne and a two-pack of Polo underwear?
“I did something stupid,” Randle admitted to his teammates. It makes no sense, someone who’s earning $500,000 a year stealing $60 of merchandise.
But what sense was there to Winston lifting $32 worth of crab legs? The scandals are finally catching up to him. NFL draft analysts say he’s fallen from being one of the top two picks to going low first round.
Sports reporters throughout the country are so put off by Winston’s misbehaviors that they now give him almost no chance of repeating as Heisman winner no matter how well he continues to play.
Bobby Bowden, the retired Florida State head coach, told ESPN that Winston “does things a kid in grammar school would do. He’s got to grow up.”
Herschel Walker, Georgia’s former Heisman Trophy winner, said on the Paul Finebaum show: “Until his act is cleaned up, I can’t give him my Heisman vote. . . . I don’t know Coach (Jimbo) Fisher. He’s probably going to kick my butt. But I think he is enabling him right now.”
Walker may have had Leaf in mind as he added, “When he gets into pro ball, he makes these same mistakes . . . it’s going to be a little different when you don’t get slapped on the wrist. You may go to jail, you may go to prison.”
The warnings keep coming. When does Winston start listening?