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Jameis Winston: I know I’m still a starting quarterback in this league

Mike Florio and Chris Simms play a round of “Fill in the Blank” for remaining notable free agents, discussing best fits for DeAndre Hopkins, Jadeveon Clowney, Leonard Floyd and more.

Saints quarterback Jameis Winston decided to return to the team, taking a pay cut on an amended deal rather than testing free agency with his release. It was something of a surprise since it came after the Saints had agreed to a deal with free agent Derek Carr.

Winston isn’t likely to play this season unless Carr is injured.

But he has not lost his faith that he will get another chance to be a starter in the NFL again.

“The main thing is the opportunity, and I’m just grateful every chance I get an opportunity to step into a building and play a sport I love,” Winston said Tuesday, via Katherine Terrell of ESPN. “However, I know that I’m still a starting quarterback in this league. But, man, I have to be, like this is all a process.

“There’s some Hall of Famers that made their big break at 30, so I’m still young. I’m still 29, but right now my role is to serve this team in the role that I’m in. And I’m all-in to doing that. Because again, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to still wear a Saints uniform or to be in the NFL in general.”

Winston, the No. 1 overall selection in 2015, was last a full-time starter in 2019 with the Bucs. He has started only 10 games the past three seasons with the Saints, though he was expected to be the team’s full-time starter in 2021 and 2022.

A torn anterior cruciate ligament, a foot injury and a fractured back kept him sidelined.

“Everyone has different journeys in this league,” Winston said. “But it’s challenging to be a NFL quarterback, and when you have an opportunity to be a starting NFL quarterback, you want to make the most of it. I’ve just had some unfortunate injuries over the past three years, so this is where I’m at. But this is not what I visualize being in the near future. But where I’m at right now is focusing on getting healthy, focusing on taking advantage of this opportunity I have to serve Derek, to serve this team and serve this organization the best that I can.”