Bucs Center Evan Smith Says Jameis Winston Must Earn Leadership Role

By Jesse Reed

Jameis Winston is quickly learning that nothing is given in the NFL—everything is earned.

The charismatic rookie quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is a natural leader. He quickly gained a reputation at Florida State as a guy who was constantly building up his teammates in the heat of battle. Heck, former NFL quarterback and Super Bowl XXII MVP Doug Williams compared him to LeBron James, saying, “He has charisma coming out of his ears.”

His natural leadership will come in handy down the road. But for now, Winston must simply work to fit in, according to center Evan Smith, who seems to be impressed with the young man.

“As a quarterback, you have to have a certain type of personality,” the veteran center said (h/t pewterreport.com). “Guys want to see you lead. They want to follow the quarterback. Like I said, he’ll get that position in time. It’s not something that we are just going to let him come in and, ‘Here it is, everybody follow this guy. He has to learn how we do things around here and he’s doing that… but as of right now, follow the older guys.”

Apparently, it matters not where these rookies come from or what kind of investment the franchise has made into them. Smith couldn’t be more clear about where these young players rank in the pecking order. There is a lot for Winston and his fellow rookies to learn about an NFL locker room and an NFL season before they’ll earn the respect of veterans who have done it for years.

Smith continued:

“You will earn your spot eventually… We have plenty of leaders on this team, plenty of leaders in this locker room and they’ll figure it out.”

This is a good thing.

As previously mentioned, it seems like Winston has made a good first impression on his new teammates. If he continues to work hard, stay out of trouble and shows respect to the veterans on the squad, then he will earn their trust soon enough.

Photo: USA Today Sports