Bobby Bowden calls Jameis Winston an off-the-field 'embarrassment'

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Former Florida Statecoach Bobby Bowden referred to former Seminoles quarterbackJameis Winstonas an "embarrassment" in an interview Tuesday.

"I think it's a consensus among Florida State fans and boosters that he was an embarrassment in a lot of ways to the university," Bowden said on ESPN's The Paul Finebaum Show. "He won a lot of ballgames, probably one of the best football players that ever attended Florida State, but he hurt himself off the field. The good news is he's young enough to get over that. He just can't make those junior high school decisions that he made when he was in college."

On Wednesday, Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith defended his rookie quarterback.

"That's a strong statement to make about any young man, that he is an embarrassment," Smith told reporters. "Jameis Winston is not an embarrassment, and I don't think Bobby Bowden is speaking for Florida State in making a statement like that. Normally, when you're in the family, you protect the family."

Bowden's negative comments about Winston are the first to be made publicly by any high-profile person tied to Florida State. Current Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher, who replaced Bowden as coach, has supported the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner.

Winston, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's NFL draft, started two seasons for the Seminoles and led them to a national championship and an appearance in the inaugural College Football Playoff -- a game that resulted in Winston's only loss as a starter at FSU.

While his abilities on the field rarely have been questioned, Winston routinely drew negative attention off the field.

Most seriously, Winston was accused of rape stemming from a 2012 incident. No criminal charges were filed, and the school deemed there was insufficient evidence to charge Winston with violating FSU's student code of conduct. However, Winston and the victim are suing each other in civil court.

In addition, Winston was cited for shoplifting crab legs from a local supermarket in April 2014, and he was suspended by the team for the first half of a game this past fall after shouting an obscene sexual phrase on campus.

Bowden is being paid $250,000 this year, as he was last year, by Seminole Boosters Inc. to raise funds for the athletics department. The multiyear marketing and promotions agreement began in January 2014 and calls for Bowden to make public appearances during the deal to promote, market and raise funds for FSU athletics in 2014 and 2015.

Information from's Andrea Adelson was used in this report.

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