Bo Jackson's Advice for Jameis Winston on Playing Two Sports

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterApril 19, 2014

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AUBURN, Ala. — Former Major League Baseball and National Football League star Bo Jackson's message to Florida State quarterback and pitcher Jameis Winston was clear.

"Follow your heart."

That was the message that the 1985 Heisman Trophy winner and former Auburn running back delivered prior to the Tigers' spring game.

Jackson famously starred as a running back and outfielder for the Auburn baseball team, before enjoying a career in the NFL with the Los Angeles Raiders and in MLB with the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox and the California Angels (1986-94).

Former Auburn RB Bo Jackson
Former Auburn RB Bo JacksonJeff Gross/Getty Images

"More power to Jameis," he said. "He is a good kid. If he thinks he can do it, then more power to him. Trying to take it to the next level is a little bit different because of the talent pool on each side."

Winston passed for 4,057 yards, 40 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as a redshirt freshman quarterback for the Seminoles, winning the 2013 Heisman Trophy and the BCS National Championship. On the diamond, he's a relief pitcher for the 'Noles. In 13 appearances this season, he boasts a 1.56 ERA with five saves and 19 strikeouts, according to the ACC.

Florida State QB/P Jameis Winston
Florida State QB/P Jameis WinstonUSA TODAY Sports

Jackson's heart led him to baseball and, according to The New York Times, played football for the Raiders as "a hobby."

Despite his success in both sports, Jackson cautions that, while he could play both as a pro, it's a little different for Winston playing pitcher and quarterback.

"He's going to make his living with his arm," Jackson said. "If I was Jameis, I would follow my heart, because I did the same thing. It wouldn't be right for me to say what he should do or shouldn't do."

Feb 25, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA;  Florida State Seminoles pitcher/outfielder Jameis Winston (44) runs back to the dugout during the fifth inning against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

Playing two sports this spring, including flying from Atlanta where his Seminoles were playing Georgia Tech back to Tallahassee last weekend to play in Florida State's spring game, has been exhausting to Winston this spring, according to the University Herald.

Jameis Winston Admits to Sometimes Being 'Drained' From Playing Baseball and Football; QB... http://t.co/28eGmihqQa pic.twitter.com/MtGcZpL0W9

— University Herald (@UniHerald) April 15, 2014

Jackson shares a bond with Winston. 

The former Tiger running back hails from Bessemer, Ala., and Winston's hometown of Hueytown is on the other side of I-20/59 just southwest of Birmingham.

Despite growing up in the same area, Jackson hopes to stay out of the way and let Winston blaze his own trail.

"He should experience success or failure on his own terms either way," Jackson said. "I just wish him luck. He's from my home town, so he's a homeboy." 

Now Jackson is working on a career in another form of athletics.

He was in town to kick off the third year of "Bo Bikes Bama," a charity bike ride across the state to raise money for the Governor's Emergency Relief Fund which helped the state recover from the tornadoes of April 27, 2011. In its first two years, the event has raised more than $700,000 which has helped rebuilding efforts and contributed to construction of community safe rooms.

As AL.com's Kevin Scarbinsky points out, Jackson could be a fantastic role model for Winston, both on and off the field. 

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand and all statistics are courtesy of ESPN.com.