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Jameis Winston says faith and family have changed his perspective

Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 30: Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on after a 34-32 loss against the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

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As Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston embarks on a make-or-break season, he says he has someone more important than Bruce Arians on his side.

Winston went deep into the importance of his young family and faith in a recent Sports Spectrum podcast interview with Jason Romano, and said he’s a much different person now than the one the Buccaneers drafted first overall in 2015 (and presumably the one who was suspended for three games last year for an incident with a female Uber driver).

Winston said he and his fiancée recently had a son, which changed his outlook on everything.

“I recently got engaged. Had my first son. And it kind of overshadows, . . . once I had my son, it kind of gave me a new perspective on life because his birth, really overshadowed all the good and the bad,” Winston said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “No matter about the accomplishments that I had in college, the accomplishments that I had in high school, or the adversity that I faced in college or the adversity that I faced in high school, his birth really just showed me a glimpse of what it meant for God to love us. Because he knows that we would never live up to His satisfaction. But He loves us no matter what, He is forgiving of us, his grace is so sufficient.

“And when I look at that boy, my son, he’s eight months now, when I look at him, I just see that he can’t love me back, but I love him with all my heart and it just gives me so much respect for my fiancée and I see the way she treats him and it just gave me a whole new perspective of love and it transitioned my walk from just knowing about the Word to actually living by the Word.”

Winston admitted during the podcast that his walk wasn’t always a smooth one, describing his upbringing in the church and then his years in college when religion was something he sometimes used as “giving myself an excuse.”

“My walk has just been, it’s been real,” he said. “I don’t have this fabulous story how everything was washed away. I just have this real life walk. And I just love the perspective that I can’t explain the way it comes out. . . .

“One great lesson that I would just pass along to every young person out there or anybody that feels that they can handle everything by themselves, that feels all they need is themselves, their sheer will and their confidence, I would disagree with that. You need someone to accommodate you on the Walk. Your source has to be in God and not yourself or any other human being. . . . It just helps you on your walk. Initially, especially my first few years in the league, I was trying to do this thing by myself. At times, I worked hard for this, I did all the quarterback drills and all the things like that to get here. Shoot. But not realizing that, okay, God blessed me with this talent. I experienced different things growing up as a child that helped me. That helped mold me into the man that I am now, to the athlete that I am now.”

Winston’s had his share of ups and downs on and off the field, but if he’s pushed through those and has a good year under a new coach who believes in him, he’ll find an earthly reward in free agency. But he’s saying things now to indicate that’s not his first priority.