QB Jameis Winston, Bucs meet

ByAdam Schefter ESPN logo
Tuesday, March 3, 2015

In what might be an unprecedented visit for how early it occurred, quarterback Jameis Winstonwas in Tampa, Florida, on Tuesday for an all-day meeting with the Buccaneers.

Winston, the former Florida State star, arrived in Tampa on Monday and will depart Wednesday, a source said. Tuesday's meeting was largely with Buccaneers ownership, the Glazer family, and the trip was billed as "Glazer-centric" by another source. The purpose was to see how comfortable the Buccaneers would be using the No. 1 overall pick on Winston.

According to the team's website, Winston also had breakfast with coach Lovie Smith on Tuesday morning and had a long conversation with general manager Jason Licht later.

"Being able to play three years in Florida, I would love to stay here in this great state," Winston told the Bucs' website. "I've just got to take advantage of this blessing. It's not really important to me to be the first pick, but it is important to me to be picked. I believe that I have been blessed during my years at Florida State to win a national championship and just be a winning quarterback. And I believe this place -- I would love to be here."

What's unusual about this trip is its timing. Typically prospects don't begin visiting teams until April. People around the league could not remember a potential No. 1 overall pick visiting the team with the top selection this early in the process.

The NFL was made aware of the trip and cleared it, a source said.

A league source told ESPN's Ed Werder that the early timing of the visit was based on Winston's schedule.

Tampa Bay officials also plan to meet with Winston at Florida State this spring.

"I just want them to know that I am human and I'm a great person," the QB said Tuesday of his Bucs visit. "This smile isn't fake. I just want to show them that I can be the face of this franchise one day. Actions speak louder than words."

Former Oregon star QB Marcus Mariota is expected to visit the Buccaneers in the next month.

The NFL draft is April 30 to May 2.

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