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The starting offensive line up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be slightly different than the team anticipated when the 2018-2019 season opens on September 9 against New Orleans. The team will be without its quarterback Jameis Winston, as he has been suspended the first three games of the regular season after an investigation by the NFL ruled he inappropriately touched a female driver for Uber back in March of 2016.

“First and foremost, I would like to say I’m sorry to the Uber driver for the position I put you in. It is uncharacteristic of me and I genuinely apologize,” Winston expressed in a statement regarding his suspension. “I apologize to my teammates, the Buccaneers organization and fans for letting them down and for not being able to be out there for the first three games of the season.

“Although I am disappointed in the NFL’s decision, I understand the NFL’s process, and I embrace this as an opportunity to take advantage of the resources available to help me achieve the goals that I have for myself.

“I now look forward to putting this behind me and I will continue to work hard every day to be a positive influence in my community and be the best person, teammate and leader I can be.”

The report also stated Winston will not appeal the league’s decision after he violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Along with missing three games without pay, he will have to obtain a clinical evaluation and fully cooperate in any recommended program of therapeutic intervention.

“A failure either to obtain the evaluation or to cooperate with treatment will result in further discipline,” the NFL shared in a statement. “In addition, a future violation of the personal conduct policy will result in more substantial discipline, including a potential ban from the NFL.”

Tampa Bay stated the following on Winston’s suspension:

“All members of our organization are expected to conduct themselves in according with the personal conduct policy of the NFL. We are disappointed that Jameis put himself in a position that has been found to violate the policy and accept today’s decision by the commissioner.”

The Buccaneers have three other players who could fill in during Winston’s absence: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Griffin and Austin Allen. Last season when Winston was sidelined with a shoulder injury, Fitzpatrick stepped up as the team’s starting quarterback.

 

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