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Buccaneers organization spent Tuesday defending QB Jameis Winston

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

A lingering question mark during this Buccaneers off season is: what, if anything, the NFL will do after its investigation of quarterback Jameis Winston’s conduct with a female Arizona Uber driver in March of
2016?

With Winston preparing to enter his fourth season and what many view as a vital year to determine whether or not he is in fact a franchise quarterback, the uncertainty of the timeline of the NFL’s investigation lingers.

As we wrote near the end of last season, the Uber driver in Arizona decided to speak out about the March 2016 incident and Uber does have a report from her detailing what she says Winston did in the front seat of the car. Uber believed her to the extent that they banned Winston from having further use of their service.

It should be noted, Winston has proclaimed his innocence and claimed that his former Florida State teammate and current Philadelphia Eagle, Ronald Darby, was in the car with him and could verify that Winston was never alone with the woman in the front seat, much less inappropriately touching her.

The NFL began to ask around and that’s about the extent of what we know, as the investigation continues quietly.

On Tuesday morning, coach Dirk Koetter was up first meeting with the media and answered a couple of questions regarding Winston status. On the one hand he described himself as being “frustrated” by the length of time that everything was taking. However, he later answered that he had “no idea” what the status of the investigation is?

Next, general manager Jason Licht spoke to the media in the early afternoon in Orlando and repeated similar sentiments of frustration at the uncertainty of the NFL investigation of Winston.

Here are his full comments at the press conference:

Both the GM and the coach realize that it is not just this season, but for the good of the future of the franchise, they need to have this latest controversy behind them.

Then in the late afternoon, in an interview with the media transcribed by the Tampa Bay Times and for one of the rare times that they ever talk on the record, one of the Glazer family spoke about many subjects including Winston.

Co-chairman Joel Glazer said of the situation:

“You know, the NFL, they do things at their own pace,” Glazer said of the NFL. “They’ve got their own processes they follow. And we let them do it. Clearly, everyone would like for this to be resolved once and for all. Quicker. But I have great confidence they will get this resolved and finish up what they’ve got to finish and then we can move forward.

He further added about Winston’s character from ownership’s perspective, “Yeah, Jameis has been nothing but a great person since he’s been with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And, he’s done everything we’ve asked of him. He’s been a great leader. He’s been unbelievable in the community and we have great confidence in Jameis. So we focus on the great things Jameis has done.”

The scary part for the Glazers, Koetter and everyone else with the Bucs, is that the NFL demonstrated last year with Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott’s six game suspension without being charged, much less convicted, of domestic abuse, that they can and will act on situations like this on their own.

Elliott and the NFLPA tried to fight the suspension legally last fall.However, ultimately they lost at the highest appeals levels, with the courts ruling Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league can discipline players, as they see fit, under the conduct code that the players agreed to in the CBA in 2011.

And so, the Bucs, Winston, their fans and everyone else, wait to see what the investigation of something he is alleged to have done two years ago bears.

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