Buccaneers' S Antoine Winfield, Jr. Quotes 4.24.20
COURTESY OF TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
(On what it means to be selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL Draft after the journey he took to get here)
"It means everything. I've dreamed about this moment ever since I was a little kid watching my dad play. All through college I battled with some injuries. It was tough going through those, but at the end of the day I just kept working hard, putting my head down. I'm just blessed and excited to join the Bucs."
(On his versatility as a defensive back)
"I can play pretty much anywhere. I can play on tight ends, I can play on slot receivers, I can blitz, I can play in the post. Versatility is my biggest asset and I feel like Tampa Bay is going to use me well that way."
(On his father, Antoine Winfield, Sr. intercepting Buccaneers QB Tom Brady during his own playing career and if his father had talked about that with him)
"It's crazy, but no, he hasn't mentioned it to me yet. They're downstairs celebrating right now, but when I get a chance, he will probably say something about it. Like I said before, I'm just excited to be a part of this team."
(On how much of an influence his father has had on his career in helping him get to this point)
"It helped in every way possible. Growing up I would watch him do things and play football. Just the little advice that he would give me growing up – he would take me out to the backyard and we would be doing football drills, just working on things I need to work on [and] watching film together. He started me off at an early age, so I feel like that just helped me and developed me faster than the other kids at my time."
(On joining a team that has high expectations for this upcoming season)
"That means everything. I was actually talking to my dad about that. He was talking about the players they had and I'm just ready to be that additional piece to help hopefully win a Super Bowl this year, so I'm just extremely excited."
(On where he sees himself fitting into Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles' defense)
"I would say either the free safety position or the nickel position. I feel like both of those positions there are versatile. You've got to be able to, like I said before, play in the post, play in the box [and] make tackles. I feel like being the free safety or the nickel is that right fit for me in the defense."
(On his impressions of the draft process)
"Well the process for me, it was different because of the coronavirus and everything, so I wasn't able to meet with these teams face to face. All we could really do is go through FaceTime and things like that, so I felt like that was a different part of the process, but we dealt with it the best way that we can using FaceTime and things like that."
(On helping lead Minnesota to a historic season and his game against Penn State)
"This year in Gopher football, we did things that we haven't done in over 115 years. Going throughout the season our goal was to win every weekend. We had a great time going out there and doing it. Specifically against Penn State – I remember going out there and doing it. I'll remember that for the rest of my life. I believe we were both 8-0 at the same time, and that game was just a great game for me – went out there and made a few plays. Going through this season it was an amazing experience especially the [Penn State game]."
(On his last college football game being the Outback Bowl played at Raymond James Stadium)
"You know what? I didn't know that was going to be my last game. After the bowl game that's when I made my decision. I just decided to make my decision after the bowl game. Playing that last game – I just gave it all I could because I knew it was just the next game. I didn't really think about coming out this year until after."
(On having a quarterback the same age as his dad and what it says that Tom Brady has been playing 20 years)
"Yeah, that's crazy but Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T. It's going to be crazy when I see him in person. He's one of my favorite players. It is crazy that my dad played against him. I don't know – that's just wild for me to think about."
(On the challenges his size presents)
"I've been this height my entire life. I don't use my height as a factor. It can be tall guys that play football that aren't as good as me. It doesn't really matter how tall or big you are. It's really about your fight and what you can bring to the table, and I feel like I can get the job done at my size. I never looked at it as a problem."
(On what he would tell fans about his game, how he carries himself, and if he feels like he can grow into a leadership role)
"Yes, sir. That's the goal to come in there and just make a big impact on the team – try and lift up as many people as I can and just bring positive energy. I would say my game is very versatile. Like I said before, I can play anywhere on the field. I can tackle well. I have great range from sideline to sideline. I blitz well and I can create takeaways, which is the most important thing. I'm just excited."
(On the kind of mentor his father has been and what he can transfer over to his game)
"A ton of information. Like I said, he started me off young. We were in the backyard doing footwork drills when I was probably five or six years old. He's always been somebody I can go to with football and any questions I need – he has 14 years of NFL experience. He pretty much has a whole bunch of information stored in his head about football. He's just always been there. I use him all the time."