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Jameis Winston: "I Have to Earn Your Trust"


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Jameis Winston had plenty to say on Friday, starting with an opening statement.

"First off, before we start anything, I want to let y'all know that I know I've made mistakes," he began in front of dozens of cameras and 100-plus members of the media. "I know I have a past. Right now is about me earning the trust of all 32 teams out there. By saying that, I'm a competitor and I know what I'm capable of doing and I will be throwing tomorrow at the Combine."

The last part of his statement quelled a short-lived panic that Winston was experiencing deadness in his shoulder. ESPN's Chris Mortensen tweeted earlier Friday that Winston underwent an electromyography to test the weakness.

Winston said the medical exams were no more than the standard MRI that every other Combine participant went through. Shoulder issue aside, the Florida State QB spoke confidently for a full 12 minutes, saying all the right things when asked about his off the field troubles.

He knows there's only one way to silence the critics who say he is too immature to lead an NFL franchise.

"My actions," Winston stated. "I've got to do everything by my actions. When I do get to a city and to a new team, I plan on getting involved in the community and creating a positive image and putting everything else behind me."

Winston recently made a trip to read to students at a local elementary school in Tallahassee. Turns out it's the kids, not the critics that sparked motivation to change.

"The hardest thing is being real with yourself that you let somebody down," he said. "When you see those kids and think, 'Dang, that little kid may have seen something on TV' … I've got a seven-year old brother at home that's looking up to me every single day. I think, 'I can't disappoint that little man because that's my brother.' I'm supposed to be his inspiration…I want to be that role model for them."

One thing no one can accuse Winston of is losing football games. In two seasons as Florida State's starting quarterback, Winston lost only one game while taking home a Heisman Trophy and a National Championship ring.

He was the face of the Florida State program and plans on being the face of an NFL team. Winston didn't go into detail about what NFL teams have been asking about during the interviews, only his message to the coaches and execs he sat before.

"What I tell them is 'I have to earn your trust. I can't talk about the situations or anything about the past, but what I can do is prove to you and let you watch me grow into being the face of your franchise,'" he said.

After the 2014 season, four of Winston's offensive linemen declared for the draft. His tight end Nick O'Leary declared for the draft. His top wide receiver Rashad Greene also declared. It was a no brainer for Winston to make the jump to the NFL.

His college statistics are gaudy, especially in 2013 – 4,057 passing yards, 40 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Winston came back to earth in 2014, throwing for just 25 scores to his 18 interceptions. Improving his turnover ratio is what Winston says his biggest goal is as an NFL rookie.

A two-sport athlete at Florida State, Winston was an outfielder and pitcher on the Seminoles baseball team the last two seasons. Winston's golden arm proved just as elite as a relief pitcher, with a career 1.95 earned run average in 60 innings and 52 strikeouts. His hitting numbers were much more pedestrian – 33 career hits and 13 runs batted in.

Winston indicated Friday that his career on the diamond is all but over.

"Right now I'm focused on football," he said. "I'm a quarterback. This is actually the first time I've ever had an offseason to just focus on being a quarterback, and I love it. I love putting everything into football. This is what I do."

There's still 68 days until the NFL Draft, meaning there's two more months of debate on if Winston should be picked over Marcus Mariota. Both will have their respective pro days. More analysis will ensue. There won't be a consensus or final answer until one of them is selected first in Chicago.

Winston isn't interested in that debate. He didn't even entertain the thought of competition with Mariota to be the top pick in the draft, saying he has much greater aspirations for the next year of his life.

"This isn't a competition between me and Mariota because one thing about me, I plan on winning a Super Bowl in the next year," he said boldly. "It's going to be Jameis versus Peyton Manning and Jameis versus Tom Brady. I want to be viewed like that."

Pipe dreams or realistic goals, Winston used all the right words on Friday. Now it's time to let his actions speak.

Florida State QB Jameis Winston addresses reporters on Day 3 of the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine. (AP Photos)

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