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Jameis Winston: Absence made me reflect on making most of my opportunity

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Chicago Bears

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks for a receiver against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 30, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Buccaneers 48-10. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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The Buccaneers didn’t include quarterback Jameis Winston in the team’s promotional materials this summer due to his suspension, but he’s front and center again this week.

Winston will be making his first start since returning from that suspension when the Bucs take on the Falcons. On Thursday, Winston talked about how difficult it was to be unable to be with the team or communicate with anyone from the team and said the experience made him think about how much the chance to play means to him.

“Having this taken away from you briefly, it can make you reflect on things, like last year when I had my shoulder injury,” Winston said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “It was tough for me. Even though I was happy we had success, I’ve never been out of football, you know, like out of the loop. So every day is a blessing to be a Tampa Bay Buccaneer and play this great game. So I’ve got to do my best to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Winston was able to get his feet wet in Week Four in relief of Ryan Fitzpatrick, so he won’t be starting totally from scratch against the Falcons as he tries to get the team back on the winning track.