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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

January 6th is special day for Bucs QB Jameis Winston

Florida Football Insiders



Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a tumultuous fifth season in the NFL for Bucs QB Jameis Winston and his future at the moment in Tampa Bay is uncertain. However, Monday January 6th is a day that will always the big for him.

First, as Buccaneers social media pointed out, Monday is Winston’s 26th birthday:

And for all the debate about his passing accomplishments , his interceptions and the Buccaneers lack a playoff appearances, when you consider that he is just now 26 and yet, has already played five years in the NFL, it’s all pretty impressive.

Still, others will point to the likes of  Lamar Jackson and his great success statistically and in the win-loss column in just his second season for the Ravens. Or, likewise Patrick Mahomes, who has the Chiefs back in prime position to contend for the Super Bowl just like they were a year ago, and he’s only 24 years old.

Yes, Winston has Buccaneer records for passing yards in a season, TDs in a season, but also just became the first ever QB in NFL history to have 30 or more TD passes, but 30 or more INTs to go with them. And, he hasn’t had a winning season in three years.

We will learn in time with the Bucs intend to do with keeping Winston or not. However, one thing that will never be able to be taken away also happened on January 6th of 2014.

That’s when, Winston led the Florida State Seminoles to their most recent National Championship. It was a BCS title game win in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, over the Auburn Tigers.

And, Winston very famously and dramatically, saved his best for last in the closing minute of the game:

Winston’s two yard touchdown to Kelvin Benjamin with only 1:06 remaining helped secure FSU’s third national championship. And, it culminated an unbeaten 14-0 season, where Winston is further immortalized in college football history, as the Heisman Trophy winner.

Sure, Winston had some good days and some bad days for the Buccaneers in the 2019 NFL season, but January 6th is always a day that he can smile about.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs DE Barrett basked in first Pro Bowl appearance Wednesday

Florida Football Insiders



Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Off the best pass-rushing season in Buccaneers history, potential free-agent defensive end Shaq Barrett was soaking things in Wednesday in Orlando.

That’s where the NFC and AFC top players have congregated for the 2020 Pro Bowl coming Sunday.

Barrett, who set the Buccaneers single-season sack record with 19.5 this past season, ended up being the lone Buccaneer able to play in the game. This, after receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have both had to bow out due to hamstring injuries.

Barrett got props on day one from one from Cardinals DE Chandler Jones, whom he battled for the sack title all the way down to the final Sunday of the season:

Barrett then got to hangout and sign autographs with the fans assembled at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. The sixth year player out of Colorado State, who was originally undrafted but signed with the Broncos in 2014, then told the media, he’s looking for a big-money free-agent deal. And, further, his preference is that he stays in Tampa Bay.

After all, Barrett surpassed anyone’s expectation in 2019, while playing for a modest one-year free agent deal and betting on himself to cash-in. And now, after his agent Drew Rosenhaus and Bucs GM Jason Licht are done, it appears he will be making in the neighborhood of $18-20 million per year just like the top pass rushers in the NFL.

The Bucs also have the possibility of putting the franchise tag for 2020 on Barrett which would also be valued around that same amount for just the one season.

One final cool moment came Wednesday, where Barrett got introduced to a young Buccaneers fan who’s enduring tremendous family hardship with one parent battling cancer and another suffering from the debilitating ALS disease. After signing an autograph for the young man, Barrett gave him the surprise of his young life with two tickets to next weekend’s Super Bowl in Miami:

And just like that fantastic reward, Barrett will soon be similarly rewarded for his fantastic year and upcoming potential. And most likely, it will be in Tampa Bay for a long time.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Evans got respect from LeBron James Saturday night

Florida Football Insiders



Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The new present day cliche’ for respect among athletes/opponents in sports is: “Game Recognizes Game.” And, there was a neat example of that Saturday night, as the Houston Rockets of the NBA hosted the L.A. Lakers. That’s when iconic NBA star LeBron James of the Lakers came over to acknowledge Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans in the seats behind him.

As you probably know, James is arguably the most recognizable and successful NBA hoops player worldwide in the last 10+ years. He’s a 15 time All Star, a four time MVP, and helped the Miami Heat win two World Championships. And, then came back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who originally drafted him out of high school, and led them to the city’s epic first professional title in any sport in over 50 years back in 2016.

And, LeBron has the Lakers rolling at 34-8 with another win in Houston last night.

As for Evans, he is a Tampa Bay Buccaneers biggest offensive weapon and was having a tremendous 2019 season statistically until it was cut short with a hamstring injury in the Bucs early December win over the Indianapolis Colts.

That’s when Evans suffered a severe hamstring injury on a 61 yard touchdown catch from Jameis Winston and did not play another down in 2019. Still, he joined teammate Chris Godwin, as they both went over 1,000 yards for the season, which was the first time in Tampa Bay history that that happened.

Evans is also only the second player in league history, besides Randy Moss, to have 1,000 or more yards receiving in a season in his first six years in the NFL.

Further, it’s also well-known that Evan is a huge fan of the NBA and he’s originally from Galveston, Texas and play in college at Texas A&M. So, it’s only fitting that he would be courtside during the off-season and the Rockets game against the Lakers.

Evans has made mention earlier in his career that he had met and talked to LeBron James on previous occasions. One reason that Evans brought that up during the season, was his touchdown celebration dance when Tampa Bay outgunned the L.A. Rams in late September.

In that 48 – 40 win Evans caught this clinching fourth-quarter bomb touchdown from Winston and then, celebrated with LeBron James’s signature dance move

James has previously and frequently used that on the court after a big moment, a big win or a championship.

Again “Game recognizes Game,” and clearly James wanted to give some recognition to the Bucs star whiteout Saturday night courtside at his own game.

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