Bo has doubts about Winston’s two-sport future
AUBURN, Ala. — Before Jameis Winston, there was Bo Jackson.
The former Auburn running back, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1985 and went on to become a 1980s icon playing both in the NFL and MLB, met with media before the Auburn Tigers’ A-Day Game at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday. While he was largely on hand to discuss Bo Bikes Bama, his charity bike ride, he did touch on Florida State’s Heisman-winning quarterback, who moonlights as a pitcher/outfielder for the baseball team.
Last weekend, Winston played in a baseball game against Georgia Tech in Atlanta, returned to Tallahassee to play in the Seminoles spring game on Saturday, then flew back to Georgia for another baseball game on Sunday.
"More power to Jameis. He is a good kid. If he thinks he can do it, then more power to him," Jackson said.
In the series opener vs. the Yellow Jackets, Winston flied out in his lone plate appearance. The next day, he went 12 of 15 for 205 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Garnet team to a 31-14 win, then Sunday he earned a save and had an RBI walk.
One weekend is one thing, but going back and forth at the professional level is another.
Jackson doesn’t seem convinced that Winston could do what Jackson did when he played for the Oakland Raiders along with the Kansas City Royals, mainly because of the degree of difficulty Winston would face in trying to balance the demanding QB position along with another sport where he would put further stress on his arm.
Jackson didn’t have to worry about that, playing as a running back and an outfielder. He was a MLB All-Star Game pick in 1989 and NFL Pro Bowl selection in ’91. Jackson spent four seasons in the NFL, running for 2,782 yards and 16 touchdowns in a career cut short by a hip injury. His eight-year baseball career included hitting .250/.309/.474 with 141 home runs and 415 RBI in stops with the Royals, White Sox and Angels.
"Trying to take it to the next level is a little bit different because of the talent pool on each side," Jackson said. "Plus, he’s going to make his living with his arm."
On the season, Winston is hitting .133 with four RBI in 30 at-bats and has a 1.56 ERA with 19 strikeouts over 17 1/3 innings in 13 appearances.
Jackson is quick to point out that he had his own critics when attempting a two-sport career, and says that Winston should only take one perspective into account: his own.
"If I was Jameis, I would follow my heart, because I did the same thing. It wouldn’t be right for me to say what he should do or shouldn’t do. … he should experience success or failure on his own terms either way. I just wish him luck. He’s from my home town, so he’s a homeboy."