TAMPA, Fla. — With his knack for going off script and keeping plays alive, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has shown he’s one of the most creative players in the NFL. Now he’s showing some of that creativity off the field through fashion, designing a custom backpack that hit shelves this week.
“I always wanted to have something that was mine. I got Tootsie (his dog), but now I have this bag,” Winston said. “It’s really amazing.”
He collaborated with the company Sprayground to produce the “Jameis Winston Pirate Shark.” It features a red flag draped across the front with Winston’s No. 3 on it, and menacing shark teeth plated in gold.
“I just put my little spice in it,” Winston said with a big smile. “These teeth are amazing. You see it’s drenched in gold. And it looks like a little frost in there. You’ve got a couple little symbols with the ‘3’ all up in there. We’ve got a little gold, a little red. …
“I felt like a Hollywood movie producer,” he said, laughing. “I had my vision, I put it on paper, I allowed other people to use their creative concepts and voila! Here we go.”
The project took on an even deeper meaning for Winston, who is a big proponent of education. Staying in school is a key component of the talks he gives at elementary schools and nonprofits. He told one young fan during a backpack signing, “You have to fill this with a lot of books, OK?”
Sprayground founder David Ben-David described Winston as a “humble, sweet guy,” and lauded him for his creativity. It was Winston’s idea to go for a “modern-day pirate” feel and to dress like one for the promotional photos — eye patch and all.
“You know, from his fashion ideas and the cartoons he’s into, it was really a perfect fit because he was so creative,” said Ben-David, who has also partnered with other NFL stars like Jarvis Landry, Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr.
“A quarterback’s creativity is top notch because he needs to see 12 things at once,” Ben-David said. “Creatively, he has to see seven steps ahead, and who he’s going to throw to, and he also has to see how they’re going to run, and if that throw is going to become a touchdown. It’s a 17-step process. So he took that creativity and put it into our creative session.”
Will there be more fashion projects in the future for Winston? Perhaps. But right now, he’s focused on getting ready for the Bucs’ training camp, which kicks off on July 28.
“I’m excited that the guys are finally funneling in,” Winston said. “They spent their time with their families. Now we’re going to spend time with our football family so we can have a great year this season.”