Legendary Florida State coach Bobby Bowden called former Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston “an embarrassment” to the university during an interview.
Winston, who was No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had numerous off-the-field issues while playing for Florida State, where he led the Seminoles to a national title.
“I think it’s a consensus among Florida State fans and boosters that he was an embarrassment in a lot of ways to the university,” Bowden said Tuesday on ESPN’s “The Paul Finebaum Show.” “He won a lot of ballgames, probably one of the best football players that ever attended Florida State, but he hurt himself off the field.
“The good news is he’s young enough to get over that. He just can’t make those junior high school decisions that he made when he was in college.”
Bowden’s negative comments about Winston were in sharp contrast to current Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, who replaced Bowden as head coach. Fisher was supportive of the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner after each of the off-the-field incidents.
The most serious was when Winston was accused of sexually assaulting Florida State student Erica Kinsman, an allegation he repeatedly denied. Kinsman said she was raped by Winston at his apartment while they both were students. The state attorney opted not to pursue charges against Winston and a retired Florida Supreme Court judge determined there was insufficient evidence to prove he assaulted the woman. Winston and Kinsman each have filed civil lawsuits in connection with the rape allegation.
Another incident was when Winston was cited for shoplifting crab legs from a grocery store in Tallahassee, Fla. Winston apologized, paid a fine and did community service, but before the draft he said on ESPN’s Draft Academy that a Publix employee told him he could take the food for free. Publix investigated the incident last May and said there was no indication that an employee had given Winston any merchandise.
Winston was suspended by the team for the first half of a game against Clemson last year for shouting a vulgar phrase about women in the middle of the student union building on campus.
In additon, before he earned the starting quarterback job, Winston was questioned for shooting BB guns that damaged windows at a Tallahassee apartment complex and stealing soda from a Burger King.