QB Jameis Winston (3.20.24)

Hi, Jameis. Just wondering, I think the question that’s on a lot of Browns fans minds and a lot of people’s minds, what kind of person, in addition to the football player, what kind of person are the Browns getting? What kind of character? And perhaps maybe, how have you changed over the past years?

“The person that this organization is getting, is first and foremost a man of God in faith, who is about increase. And in terms of changing over the course of the past few years, significantly. Four years ago, I got married to the love of my life, my high school sweetheart. So, not just being a man of God, but a husband and a father of two kids. So, priorities change when you see and know that things are bigger than you. So, I’m here to do what God called me to do, and that is to lead and advance his kingdom in any way, shape, or form. So that’s the man that you’re getting.”


Hey, Jameis, why did you like the idea of signing here?

“Well, first, Scott (Petrak), I can’t really see your face. I’m a people person. I can see Mary (Kay Caobt). But first Scott, the opportunity. I’m a firm believer that nothing happens by coincidence. So, when this opportunity came about, we locked in and we communicated, we collaborated on it, and this just felt like a great fit for me.”


Hey, Jameis, just wondering, looking at Deshaun Watson’s game and what you know of him, what excites you most about being able to back him up, and what do you think that you’ll hopefully impart on him as you work with him and the team?

“Well, just the most important thing, I believe, is the relationship between me and Deshaun is in a place where it will continue to grow and flourish. And I just admire him as a person and definitely as a football player. I look forward to allowing him to lean on me for anything that he needs and also encouraging him and providing him with different resources that he probably hasn’t gotten for people that have been in the same room as him, whether that’s film studies, film tendencies, whether that’s cooperating with the receiver room, cooperating with the running backs, just serving him and this team, the best way that I can. Like I said earlier to Mary Kay, is that I’m a man of increase. I’m a man of faith and God. So, I know it is not only a passion of mine to lead and to impact those around me, but I feel like it’s a privilege when I’m provided with an opportunity. I tend not to look ahead of me and tend to look behind me. I tend to focus on the now. So, I’m so excited to work with this young man and allow him, help him be what he is capable of being, and that’s being one of the best quarterbacks in this league.”


You’ve mentioned helping Deshaun, and obviously, I know you’re a guy who wants to be a starting quarterback again in this league, but since you left Tampa, how have you sort of learned to embrace being the backup and everything that goes into it and the importance of that role?

“Well, the most important thing that I saw, Dan (Labbe) and I continue to talk about it, is just the opportunity that we get as football players. We’ve been playing this sport, me, myself, since I’ve been four years old. So, the experiences that I’ve been able to accumulate, the experiences that have taught me things for anyone’s benefit, like just the wisdom that I have obtained, whether it’s strategic from a football side, or whether it’s emotional, physical, from just a personable side. I think from the outside looking in, a lot of people view football players as these athletes who put themselves on the pedestal. But growing and experiencing the highs and lows and learning how to be content with every situation that I’m in has just created a different type of confidence and a different type of will, knowing that I can impact anybody anywhere, despite the role that I may have. And, Dan, man, I have played some incredible roles over the course of my four years in New Orleans, which I believe has equipped me for anything that this game, that this business has to give me and just on time.”



I did want to ask you, what do you think is the biggest thing you learned in those years in New Orleans?

“Well, the biggest thing that I learned is no matter if it’s being high or being low, but to remain content and present in the now and controlling what you can control.”


Hey, Jameis, I just wanted to get into a little more you and Deshaun, like, when did your paths first cross and just talk a little bit about the relationship you guys maybe have already pre-established with you coming into this room?

“Well, our paths first crossed back in 2014 when we played Clemson. And just from his success with them, I’ve always encouraged him, shot him Instagram messages every now and then about being proud of him and continuing to persevere, and we just kind of just stayed in contact in that way. The biggest thing about this relationship is not only is this going to be an incredible relationship, because me and him have both had a lot of success throughout our football career, but it’s going to be a relatable experience with us both being African American quarterbacks out of the deep south, right. So I’ve experienced some of the certain things that he’s experienced throughout his career, which allows him to be able to depend on me or to lean on me to different specific avenues that he might want to pursue or any questions that he might have. But one of the biggest things that I’m bringing to Deshaun is just really support and encouragement because he has achieved so much, and that’s why he is this organization’s franchise quarterback. But as a lot of us know, we all make this ship go. So every role, the role that you guys played, the role that I played, the role that the radio guys play, the coaches play – we’re all in this together. So the more that we can be focused on the same goal and mission, and right now, really, every team’s mission should be at the beginning of the year, is to win football games and win the Super Bowl right now. So, I think that is our main focus. And long as we got that same eye-to-eye determination to go bring this city what it deserves, I know we’re going to be great, and I know we’re going to bond well.”


Reading about your time in New Orleans and the way your teammates, it seemed like, really valued having you around and your personality and things like that, how important is that to you to be seen as a good teammate, have that kind of leadership role in a locker room when you’re in it?

“Well, when you are who you are every single day, it’s easy to be that same person every single day. And I think a lot of people love people that are genuine. They love people that are of increase and optimistic. So, I try to make sure that I’m focused on that space. I’m focused on how we can get better and how we can get better together. So, I’m always looking for ways to enhance those around me because I know that is what a leader encompasses.”


Were you aware the Browns were pursuing you in free agency? And was there a conversation among you and Deshaun prior to signing?

“There wasn’t any conversation with me and Deshaun prior to signing, but there has been conversation with me and Deshaun since the signing. And during the free agency process you talk to certain teams, you develop relationships typically during the tampering period, two days before the new league year. So my agent – I have an incredible agent who was on top of the relationship and feedback with the Cleveland Browns since the combine. I’m thankful that I have people that are experts at what they do to speak on my behalf, that I’m able to communicate and know me well enough to be able to share that same vision with whoever wanted to pursue me. But like I said, this opportunity really stood out because of, one, the great organization that it is, two, the incredible fan base and incredible people that this city possesses, and three, just the opportunity to remain grateful and to build and influence others around me.”


I just want to follow up a little bit on the support system that you can be for Deshaun, and everybody knows what he has gone through off the field, and you have had some similar situations, or I don’t know if similar is the right word, but you have had some off the field issues as well. How do you think that might help you in terms of helping him navigate, walking through, how to deal with some of this stuff as he moves forward and becomes an even larger part of this team in this community?

“Yes, throughout everyone’s life, they are given certain circumstances, conditions and facts. But just because you are presented with those things doesn’t mean that those things have to define you, so the resilience and perseverance that Deshaun already possesses, I believe that we’re all going to be able to build and move forward through being the best person that we possibly can be, whether that’s on the field and off the field. I just know that some of the things that we all go through are necessary. It’s necessary for our individual growth. It’s necessary for us to learn so we can be able to apply it in a better way. Like I said, being a father of a five-year-old and a three-year-old, you see them learning how to walk, I think the walking process is one of the most amazing processes because people think that you just get up and you just start walking, but you have to fall down and you have to learn how to get your balance. You have to learn how to continue to grow and grow until you can walk with authority and walk with your head up high and experience the amazing things that life has to offer.”