Updated June 29 at 9:40 a.m.
This is bad news for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but good news for the Eagles.
Thursday, the NFL officially suspended Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston for the first three games of the 2018 season for a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy. Winston’s suspension stems from the league’s investigation into an incident in March 2016 when he allegedly groped a female Uber driver in Arizona.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Winston will not appeal his suspension.
In a statement, Winston said he was “sorry to the Uber driver for the position I put you in.”
The Buccaneers released the following statement:
All members of our organization are expected to conduct themselves in accordance 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.
That means the Eagles’ Week 2 game in Tampa Bay might be a whole lot easier. After opening the season at home against the Falcons, the Eagles play their first road contest of the year against the Bucs.
Winston has played the Eagles just once in his career and was great. He led the Bucs to a 45-17 win over the Eagles at the Linc during his rookie season in 2015. In that game, he completed 65 percent of his passes for 246 yards and a career-high five touchdown passes with zero interceptions.
Winston is one of just seven quarterbacks to ever throw five touchdown passes against the Eagles in a single game; no one has ever thrown more against them in a game. The others are Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, Joe Montana, Craig Morton, Don Meredith (twice) and Sonny Jergensen.
Winston, 24, has thrown for at least 3,500 yards and 19 touchdowns in each of his first two seasons. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2015. To put his early success into perspective, Winston has two 4,000-yard seasons in his first three seasons, the Eagles’ franchise has never had one.
The Bucs’ backup quarterback is veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, who actually went 2-1 in his three starts in place of Winston last season.
But don’t let those three games fool you, the Bucs are obviously much better with Winston behind center than Fitzpatrick, who has played for five different teams over the past six years.
According to NFL Research, the Bucs’ first three games of this season are the toughest first three games for any team in the Super Bowl era based on last year’s records.
The Buccaneers’ first 3 games of the 2018 season are the toughest first 3 games of a season for any team in the Super Bowl era, based on their opponents’ records in the previous season
Week 1 at Saints (11-5)
Week 2 vs Eagles (13-3)
Week 3 vs Steelers (13-3)
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) June 21, 2018