The NFL has suspended Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston for the first three games of the 2018 season, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This was the expected outcome after the league wrapped its investigation earlier this month.
Winston was alleged to have groped an Uber driver back in March 2016. The QB long denied any wrongdoing, but he took at least some responsibility for his actions in a statement issued on Thursday.
“The NFL informed me today that I will be suspended for the first three games of the season. First and foremost, I would like to say I’m sorry to the Uber driver for the position I put you in,” Winston said. “It is uncharacteristic of me and I genuinely apologize. In the past two-and-a-half years, my life has been filled with experiences, opportunities and events that have helped me grow, mature and learn, including the fact that I have eliminated alcohol from my life. I know I have to hold myself to a higher standard on and off the field and that I have a responsibility to my family, community, and teammates to live above the platform with which God has blessed me.
“I apologize to my teammates, the Buccaneers organization and fans for letting them down and for not being able to be out there for the first three games of the season. Although I am disappointed in the NFL’s decision, I understand the NFL’s process, and I embrace this as an opportunity to take advantage of the resources available to help me achieve the goals that I have for myself. I now look forward to putting this behind me and I will continue to work hard every day to be a positive influence in my community and be the best person, teammate and leader I can be.”
The suspension was the result of the settlement talks between the NFL, NFLPA, and his Winston’s representatives, Albert Breer of The MMQB (on Twitter) hears. That means there will be no appeal on Winston’s behalf. Per league rules, Winston will be able to participate in team activities, including the preseason, until the suspension begins in September.
The three-game ban will keep Winston off of the field as the Buccaneers start the season against the Saints, Eagles, and Steelers. Backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will try to navigate the team through those difficult games before Winston is eligible to return in Week 4 against the Bears.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.