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Jameis Winston Headed to Pro Bowl!

Posted Jan 25, 2016

For the first time in the Buccaneers' four-decade history they will send a rookie quarterback to the all-star game, as Jameis Winston will join four teammates in Honolulu.

Jameis Winston keeps breaking new ground.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Winston with the first overall pick in the 2015 draft believing he could develop into that most prized of NFL commodities: the franchise quarterback. He provided immediate evidence that the Buccaneers were right, becoming just the third rookie in NFL history and the first in team annals to throw for 4,000 yards.

READ: WINSTON'S CASE FOR ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Now Winston has done something else no Buccaneer rookie passer has ever done: He's earned an invite to the Pro Bowl.

On Monday evening, the NFL announced that Winston has been added to the roster for the 2016 Pro Bowl, taking the place of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who has elected not to play in the game.  Perhaps the leading candidate for the league's Offensive Rookie of the Year award, Winston is just the fourth quarterback in Buccaneer history to get an all-star nod, and the first since Jeff Garcia in 2007. The others were Brad Johnson in 2002 and Trent Dilfer in 1997.

Winston's addition to the roster gives the Buccaneers' five Pro Bowlers, the team's largest contingent since the Super Bowl season of 2002. Seven Bucs were chosen for that all-star game; the highest figure since then was four in both 2003 and 2008.

READ: WINSTON'S CASE FOR ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Perhaps more relevant is that Tampa Bay will have three offensive players in the game for the first time in a decade and a half. That last happened in 2000, when the Buccaneers had a franchise-record nine-man group in Honolulu, including offensive players Mike Alstott, Jeff Christy, Warrick Dunn and Randall McDaniel. Winston joins 2015 offensive cohorts Logan Mankins and Doug Martin.

Winston's first NFL season was impressive, as he joined Cam Newton and Andrew Luck in the 4,000-yard rookie club. The former Florida State star completed 312 of 535 passes for 4,042 yards, 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He also ran for six touchdowns. Those 28 combined rushing and passing TDs tied for the most in a single season in franchise history and also matched the third-highest total by a rookie in league annals.

Winston showed big-play ability, ranking third in the NFL behind prime MVP candidates Newton and Carson Palmer with an average of 12.96 yards per completion. Much of that was built on his 57 completions of 20 or more yards, the fifth-highest mark of any quarterback in the league. Winston gave an exciting glimpse as to what he could accomplish as the Bucs' franchise quarterback in a stunning outing at Philadelphia on November 22 when he became just the second rookie in league history to throw for five touchdowns and no interceptions in a single game.

It took Jameis Winston just one season to find his way to the NFL's Pro Bowl. It almost certainly won't be his last all-star trip.