Jameis Winston walks between drills during Florida State football pro day in Tallahassee, Fla., Tuesday, March 31, 2015.
Photo: Mark Wallheiser
Photo: Mark Wallheiser

Jameis Winston says he was 'hooked up' with crab legs

Former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is offering an explanation for why he didn't steal those crab legs last year.

Winston, appearing in an ESPN draft segment Tuesday night that was taped back in February, says a Publix employee he knows used to hook him and his friends up with free stuff:

"Well, a week before, it was my buddy's birthday and we had got a cake. And we met a dude that worked inside Publix and he said, 'Hey, anytime you come in here, I got you.' So that day we just walked out and he hooked us up with that. And when I came in to get crab legs, I did the same thing and he just gave them to me and I walked out. And someone from inside the store had told the security that I didn't pay for them. And that's how the whole thing started."

Winston received a citation for the alleged theft.

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Said Winston on ESPN: "How I'm supposed to handle, like, if I just got them for free? I just say, 'I just messed up?'"

If Winston's story is true, Florida State still has problems. Those "hook-ups" likely were violations of NCAA rules.

The NCAA defines extra benefits as “any special arrangement by an institutional employee or a representative of the institutions athletics interest ("booster") to provide a student-athlete (or a student-athlete's relative or friend) a benefit that is not generally available to other students.” The organization considers “representative of athletics interest” to include not just university employees but alumni, fellow students and fans of the program.

The Seminoles could face penalties for secondary NCAA violations if it's determined Winston got extra benefits, but it could mean more serious trouble if Winston's buddies who also got hook-ups were FSU athletes.

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