In an attempt to evaluate Jameis Winston’s off-the-field behavior, NFL teams are doing their best James Bond impressions.
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Jameis Winston’s QB guru George Whitfield Jr. told the media at the Florida State pro day that NFL teams have been sending scouts to spy on Winston’s off-the-field activities leading up to the draft.
Yahoo! Sports reported that Whitfield made it clear that teams have been very aggressive in their vetting process, including watching Winston anywhere and everywhere he goes.
“They’ve staged people,” Whitfield told Yahoo. “Yeah, there are teams that have staged people on different flights he had, just to kind of be in the midst – a fly on the wall. No (Jameis wasn’t aware of it), but I had a team official tell me that. They were aware of another team that said they wanted to do that.”
The cautious and downright creepy approach to vetting Winston off the field comes after 15 months of controversy for Winston: In 2013 Winston was arrested for shoplifting crab legs from a local store. Later in the year the former FSU QB was accused of sexual assault, but never charged by police. In 2014 Winston was suspended for a game for making inappropriate comments in the Florida State student center.
“(Teams) have had all last year, all this year,” Whitfield continued. “(They’ve used) private eyes. I know people have interviewed his elementary school teachers, bus drivers, team bus drivers, people that gave him rides at the Heisman ceremony. Pilots… Local restaurants. The lady at the Florida State cafeteria. All that stuff. And hey, if that’s what they feel they need to do to ensure themselves so come draft day they can get up on the table for him, then that’s what you’ve got to do.”
Winston is expected to be the 1st overall selection in 2015 NFL draft, presumably by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the Tampa Bay GM has admitted in the past to thinking twice about Winston because of his off-the-field issues.