Winston sent a group text to the Buccaneers wide receivers after the team’s 27-21 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
According to Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America, the text read: “Awesome game!”
“That was great to hear from him,” wide receiver Mike Evans said, per Pro Football Talk. “Jameis did an awesome job in camp, and he supported (Ryan Fitzpatrick) all the way. But he’s a team guy.”
Winston has one more contest to serve on his three-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. The quarterback is not violating his suspension by texting with his teammates.
“There’s to be no discussion of football strategy with club personnel or players but a personal message is permissible,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy wrote Pro Football Talk via email.
In Winston’s absence, Fitzpatrick has thrown for 819 yards to go along with eight passing touchdowns and a rushing score. The 35-year-old Fitzpatrick joined Patrick Mahomes (2018) and Drew Bledsoe (1997) as the lone quarterbacks in NFL history with at least four touchdown passes in each of their team’s first two games of the season.
Fitzpatrick will look to send the Buccaneers to a 3-0 start next week when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1-1). Tampa Bay hasn’t made the postseason since 2007 or won a playoff game since 2002.
The former No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Winston was accused by the Uber driver of behaving “poorly” as soon as he got in the car about 2 a.m. local time on March 13, 2016. The driver told Buzzfeed that he asked her to stop at a drive-thru restaurant during the ride.
While in line, the driver said Winston, who was the only passenger in the car, reached over and “grabbed” her crotch for three to five seconds.
Winston maintained his innocence and his account was supported by former Florida State teammate and Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby, who said he was with the quarterback in the backseat of the car and insisted that nothing occurred.
However, Darby’s account was deemed inaccurate after league investigators discovered he was not in the vehicle the entire time.
Winston became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons. He was hampered by a shoulder injury in 2017, limiting him to a career-worst 3,504 passing yards with 19 touchdowns in 13 games.
The 24-year-old Winston has completed 939 of 1,544 passes for 11,636 yards with 69 touchdowns and 44 interceptions in 45 career games with the Buccaneers. He has also rushed for 513 yards with eight scores.