So what’s going on here? The explanation may be simple, and obvious. This is the first NFL player suspension for sexual misconduct in the #MeToo era, and the league, the Buccaneers, and Winston realize that a detailed letter like the one Elliott received could light a fuse that blows up Winston’s entire career.
That’s probably why Winston isn’t fighting this one, and that’s probably why this one feels like the result of a negotiation. Winston doesn’t want the details to be shared with the public in the kind of graphic fashion that could end his career, and the NFL likely wasn’t interested in another public fight that would reveal a Keystone Cops investigation and/or a kangaroo court appeals process.
Like the NFL did with the Saints’ bounty scandal (which first introduced us to not-so-independent investigator Mary Jo White), the NFL apparently has opted to fill the rabbit hole with cement in lieu of exploring how many of the other 31 rabbits are living in there. Chances are at least one or two (or more) are scurrying around down there, hoping not to be found.
They are aiming to change that this time around. Cornerback Tre’Davious White said that the addition of cornerback Vontae Davis to a group that also includes safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde has the defensive backfield shooting for a lot of takeaways this season.
We’ve talked about goals and stuff, man, White said, via Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic. We want to have 20 picks between us. If each of us can get five, they’re not going to be able to hold us back. If we get 20 picks on the back end, we’ve got those dogs up front and those linebackers, we can easily get 30 takeaways. If you get 30 takeaways in this league, you have a chance of winning a lot of games.
White, Poyer and Hyde combined for 14 of Buffalo’s 18 interceptions last season while Davis has 22 career interceptions. None came during his truncated 2017 season and he’s never had more than four in a single season.