New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston is setting the record straight regarding the controversial touchdown he orchestrated against the Atlanta Falcons during the final game of the NFL season.
With just over a minute remaining in the fourth quarter of the contest and the Saints already leading the Falcons 41-17, Winston opted against kneeling the ball at the one-yard line in order to run the clock out. Instead, he handed the ball off to running back Jamaal Williams, who pushed into the end zone for his first touchdown of the season.
The decision angered Falcons head coach Arthur Smith, and Saints coach Dennis Allen even came out and said he wanted the team to take a knee at that point in time. In the aftermath of the play, Winston received his fair share of criticism for handing the ball off instead of kneeling down, but he shared his side of the story during a recent appearance on "Pardon My Take."
First, Winston revealed that he sought out members of the Saints' brass in order to get their perspective on the situation, and he came away impressed with the way they handled it.
"I went in and approached some of the higher-ups in the organization just to get their perspective and talk to them about it," Winston said. "They really handled it really well, having conversations with them. Because again, they know my intent.
"They see me working with practice squad receivers on off days to ensure that they're going to be prepared if their number is called," Winston added. "They see me working with the young DBs, making sure that they know how the quarterbacks on the other team or the offensive coordinator is trying to attack them in certain situations. I think they know the intent of my heart."
Winston then shared some insight into the thought process behind handing the ball off instead of taking a knee.
"I feel like that was one of the most unique opportunities that really the NFL has ever seen," Winston said. "The ball at the one-yard line with the significance of your team and a brother that you're looking for. And that's just what I am. I'm all in on increasing the people around me. So, when you have that opportunity, it's never out of disrespect. It's never out of strife. It's out of like, man, this is love. It's a trust and commitment that I have with my brothers."
Winston, 30, will be a free agent this offseason, so there's a chance that the controversial game against the Falcons was his last in a Saints uniform.
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