Dungy to Win­ston: Learn from mis­takes

The ex-Bucs coach says only “time will tell” if the QB truly un­der­stands his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

Tampa Bay Times - - Sport - BY GREG AUMAN Times Staff Writer

TAMPA — Tony Dungy said Fri­day that Bucs quar­ter­back Jameis Win­ston’s three-game sus­pen­sion is dis­ap­point­ing, but the former Tampa Bay coach and cur­rent NFL an­a­lyst still hopes the 24-year-old can learn from his mis­takes.

“Ob­vi­ously, it’s dis­ap­point­ing, and you never want to have your leader not there and avail­able for the team,” Dungy said. “I’m sure he’s dis­ap­pointed about that, too. I think time will tell in how he han­dles it.

“You hope this comes through loud and clear and he says, ‘I’m never go­ing to put myself, my fam­ily, my team in this po­si­tion again.’ It’s a tough one and something you don’t like to see. I think time will tell here.”

The 62-year-old Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame coach still calls Tampa home and said he has talked with Win­ston “quite a bit” in

the three years since he was drafted No. 1 over­all by Tampa Bay out of Florida State. Dungy said he sees that Win­ston is ac­tive in the com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially with chil­dren, but said he needs to send a con­sis­tent mes­sage in his ac­tions.

“I know he has a good heart. He wants to do the right thing,” Dungy said. “He’s very aware of his role as a leader, his role as some­one kids need to look up to. I think he knows the right things to do. Now he just needs to fol­low through on that with good de­ci­sion-mak­ing.”

Last month, Win­ston was sus­pended for the first three games of the reg­u­lar sea­son af­ter a seven-month NFL in­ves­ti­ga­tion found that a fe­male Uber driver’s ac­cu­sa­tion that he groped her dur­ing a March 2016 ride was “con­sis­tent and cred­i­ble.” The in­ves­ti­ga­tion de­ter­mined that Win­ston touched her “in an in­ap­pro­pri­ate and sex­ual man­ner without her con­sent.” He apol­o­gized to fans, team­mates and the Bucs for “let­ting them down” with his sus­pen­sion.

Dungy said when he was a coach, he would talk reg­u­larly with his team about the im­por­tance of mak­ing good de­ci­sions off the field, know­ing a sin­gle neg­a­tive ac­tion can out­weigh much more pos­i­tive work by a person or a team as a whole in a com­mu­nity.

“It’s something I used to talk to my play­ers about quite a bit,” Dungy said. “Hey, we have 53 guys on the team. Fifty-two of them are go­ing to do great things we won’t hear about very much. If one person has a neg­a­tive, that’s what we’re go­ing to hear, so don’t be the person with the neg­a­tive.

“It’s the same thing with an in­di­vid­ual. You can do 52 great things, but if you do one bad thing, it ru­ins every­thing else. You have to be ex­tremely careful when you’re in the public eye and un­der­stand it’s con­sis­tency and do­ing the right things that are im­por­tant. We all have things we’d like to take back in our lives. You don’t get to take them back when you’re in the public eye, so you have to be very careful.”

Dungy said he ex­pects Bucs own­er­ship and lead­er­ship have made it clear with Win­ston what they ex­pect from their play­ers, and hopes the en­tire ros­ter has a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of that mov­ing for­ward.

“I’m sure they’ve had a con­ver­sa­tion with Jameis and prob­a­bly with ev­ery­body on the team: This is where we are, this is what we ex­pect,” Dungy said. “You do hope that ev­ery­body grows from this and learns from it.”

Times (2017)

“I think he knows the right things to do,” Tony Dungy, above, says of Bucs QB Jameis Win­ston. “Now he just needs to fol­low through … with good de­ci­sion-mak­ing.”

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