With Father's Day coming up, as well as his fiancé's due date, the Buccaneers' franchise quarterback sat down with me to talk about how he feels about becoming a father for the first time. This is Behind the Buccaneers with Jameis Winston.
Carmen Vitali: You have a lovely fiancé, Breion, who is expecting your first child – a boy. How exciting is that?
Jameis Winston: "It's very exciting. It changes your perspective on everything in life. It gives me a reason to put everything behind me and focus on my son. No distractions from anybody outside because I'm a family man now. It's exciting for my fiancé and just to see how she's grown, see the process she's going through. You just have so much respect and it's really just perspective."
What have you guys been doing to get ready for the baby?
"Early in her pregnancy we used to stretch every night. We used to make sure she drank a bunch of water before she went to sleep. Now, it's just foot massages, back massages and relaxing. We were also traveling a lot early in the offseason. That baby is going to come out flying because we have been on so many flights. We went to the west coast for a little bit. We went to places like San Diego, Huntington Beach, San Francisco. We went to Texas. We went to Alabama. Went to North Carolina. We've been all over the place."
[If you follow @jaboowins3 on Instagram, you would have also seen Breion, who played Division I college basketball for Rice University, in their backyard shooting hoops at eight months pregnant.]
How did each of your families react when you told them about the baby?
"They were happy. It was crazy, we had our reveal on the day of the Super Bowl and it turned out that it was a boy. We had our close family members there. It was just awesome. I'm naming my son after my father, Antonor. He was very excited and Breion – she was saying the whole time that she wanted a baby girl but when it was a boy – that's what she really wanted."
Well, he's coming soon isn't he?
"Yeah, he's due July 4th. That's a great day."
How about your dog, Tootsie? Does she know there's a baby?
[Jameis and Breion have a chocolate labradoodle named Tootsie. She has an Instagram account @princesstoots_with over 3,000 followers. 13/10 would double tap every post.]
"So, Tootsie knows there's a baby. She's already jealous. We had just revealed our baby room and she took a poop in the house. We're like, 'Tootsie, you have to know not to do that' and we had people over looking at the baby room. It was definitely intentional, [she's like] 'Y'all over here not paying me any attention and you in this room instead.' She's going to be okay. I'm sure she'll fall in love. We're getting a puppy Rottweiler, too. So, we're going to have some fun there."
You're going to have a new puppy and a new baby?
"I think through the process of training the puppy, you have to be on top of your game. That kind of helps. Because being in the middle of the night with a crying baby, it's going to be the same of having to get up at 3 o'clock in the morning to take out that puppy. The only bad thing is that the puppy is going to get potty trained quicker than my boy [laughs]."
Maybe Tootsie will help?
"Yeah. Tootsie will definitely help. We just hope she doesn't get jealous of the puppy, either. She's been my baby though and she always will be."
What have you got for your real baby so far?
"Really just informational stuff and how to care for the baby. And the information from the doctors. We've started meeting with pediatricians just to see about the baby's health. There's a lot to learn and a lot to know about being a mother and a father. Our main thing is we're just accepting the challenge and willing to learn anything every step of the way."
You're very active on social media. There can be a downside to that, but the plus side is that it lets people see all the things you're doing in the community – like with your Dream Forever Foundation.
"One thing I wanted to do when I came here was to not only be a leader on the field but be a leader in this community. Having the chance to reveal my first ever Dream Room at Alexander Elementary was awesome. It was great to just see the kids and their eyes like, 'we have a new wave of opportunity inside this room.' Creating resources is encouraging these kids to dream bigger and that's my whole foundation: Dream Forever. It's something I love doing."
[Jameis launched his foundation last year and his first 'Dream Room' opened at Alexander Elementary in Tampa during early April. The room features iPads, 3-D printers, STEM software and other technology designed to help ideas come to life.]
That's a tangible thing you can see. A lot of times you're helping in these efforts but there's nothing you can actually grab onto and look at and say 'I did this.'
"Yeah. You have to go through your heart. Our whole mission is to help underprivileged kids, especially financially disadvantaged kids, with encouragement, opportunities and resources. That's what they need. They need that little push, they need to have a product there for them to be able to expand and for them to be able to dive in. You know, sometimes they just need some opportunities. They need that chance to get out there and explore the world and see what they can do."
Is there something from your childhood that you can pinpoint that made you so passionate about this cause?
"What made me passionate about it was actually the new wave of technology. A lot of kids use technology for things like Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat, but technology is way broader than that. There are so many things educationally that these kids can be doing to enhance their talents and enhance their mind to move them toward a positive note, not just taking pictures and sending text messages. We want to create an awareness that you can compete in math, compete in science. One of the neat things that they have in my Dream Rooms are 3-D printers. It was my first time ever seeing a 3-D printer. Now you get a chance to create something on the computer and then you get to see it come to life from that 3-D printer. Now, it's not just telling mommy, 'Oh, mommy I created something today, look at it on the computer.' Now you get to take it home to mom and you have something that's memorable."
Could you imagine growing up with that? I remember trying to tape construction paper together to make something that was '3-D'.
[Laughing] "I still remember on Thanksgiving, the hand turkeys, you know what I'm saying? Now with the technology, they can make their own turkey with these 3-D printers. It's awesome."
Is there something that you're seeing in these kids and through your efforts that you're going to teach your son?"Absolutely. It's just that you can't place any limitations on your dreams or whatever you want. I'm a strong advocate for dreaming BIG. You don't want to dream small because then you waste opportunities on actually getting what you want. I want to continue to inspire these kids that anything they put their mind to is possible and that's definitely going to be something instilled in my family all the way down. What's funny is on one of the walls in my son's new room, he has in big block letters Dream Big because we want these kids to think of the unthinkable and what they possess. They're our new generation, we want them thinking positive, thinking ahead and just having fun.