The NFL reportedly plans to suspend Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston for the first three games of the 2018 season for violating the league's personal conduct policy, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
According to Schefter, Winston "could be notified as early as Friday, but others think it will be handed down sometime in the next week." He also cautioned "the circumstances surrounding it still could lead to an increase or decrease of the three games."
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport confirmed that news:
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
#Bucs QB Jameis Winston is expected to be suspended by the NFL for several games for the his conduct with an Uber driver, sources say. A number has not yet been finalized. Jeff Cameron of ESPN Radio 97.9 originally said three games, and one source believes that is the ballpark.
ESPN Tallahassee radio host Jeff Cameron (h/t JoeBucsFan.com) first reported Wednesday that Winston was bracing for a suspension of up to three games.
Winston is being disciplined for allegedly groping an Uber driver on March 13, 2016. The allegations were first made public in November 2017 when BuzzFeed's Talal Ansari published an extensive report detailing the accusations.
According to Ansari, Winston allegedly grabbed the Uber driver's crotch while sitting in the passenger seat of her car.
Winston later denied any wrongdoing in a statement:
"A news organization has published a story about me regarding an alleged incident involving a female Uber driver from approximately two years ago. The story falsely accuses me of making inappropriate contact with this driver. I believe the driver was confused as to the number of passengers in the car and who was sitting next to her. The accusation is false, and given the nature of the allegation and increased awareness and consideration of these types of matters, I am addressing this false report immediately. At the time of the alleged incident, I denied the allegations to Uber, yet they still decided to suspend my account.
"I am supportive of the national movement to raise awareness and develop better responses to the concerns of parties who find themselves in these types of situations, but this accusation is false. While I am certain that I did not make any inappropriate contact, I don’t want to engage in a battle with the driver and I regret if my demeanor or presence made her uncomfortable in any way."
If Winston doesn't appeal the suspension, the Buccaneers will need to pivot to Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback for the first three weeks of the season. Fitzpatrick, 35, completed 58.9 percent of his passes last season for 1,103 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions across six appearances, including three starts.