, Newburyport, MA


December 14, 2013

Winston: Ready to adapt to Heisman spotlight

NEW YORK — Jameis Winston held his breath behind a podium, waiting for another question from the room full of reporters.

When none came, he exhaled, let a loud “wooo” and exited stage right.

The Florida State freshman quarterback was done answering questions. At least for the night.

Winston, 19, became the youngest player to ever win the Heisman Trophy, college football’s top individual award, on Saturday in New York. The next few days will be filled with a short media tour that includes appearances on the Today show and The Late Show with David Letterman.

He will return to Tallahassee in the middle of the week when his team begins preparation for the BCS National Championship Game versus Auburn. Winston is longing to start practicing again, to get back to some sort of routine and normalcy.

“The football field is my sanctuary, man. I love all the things about New York, I love the big city. I’m honored that my family is down here with me,” Winston said. “But when you’re on the football field, it’s just a whole different mindset. I’ve got a big smile on my face because I’m doing something I love.”

But life in Tallahassee will never be the same for Winston. Not after this past month. And he knows it.

On Nov. 13, Winston was first publicly linked to a sexual assault investigation in connection with an altercation in December 2012. Soon, as details emerged, it was revealed Winston was the main focus of an assault inquiry involving a former FSU student.

The Heisman Trophy became part of the narrative, with analysts speculating that the assault investigation could push Winston out of the running for the coveted award. The state attorney’s office announced Dec. 5 the case was closed and no charges would be filed against Winston.

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