Jameis Winston will start against Bills

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston stretches out prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston tested his injured throwing shoulder in practice and will start Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.

Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter made the announcement Friday after the third-year quarterback worked with the first-team offense for the first time since spraining his right shoulder during last week’s 38-33 loss at Arizona.

Winston was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday, taking “mental reps” while backup Ryan Fitzpatrick prepared to face the Bills.

“Jameis threw the ball well today,” Koetter said following the team’s hour-long practice at One Buccaneer Place. “Jameis is our starter. He will be out there.”

Winston has made 37 consecutive starts after entering the NFL as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft.

Fitzpatrick, a 13-year veteran with 116 career starts for six other teams, replaced him against the Cardinals and threw for 290 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions to help the Bucs (2-3) rally from a 31-0 deficit.

Winston said Thursday there have been other occasions during “my whole football career” when he’s played through AC joint injuries, “so I’m used to the pain.”

He declined to elaborate or compare the latest injury to the others.

“Every one is different. I can’t tell you about my injuries eight years ago,” Winston said. “I can just tell you about this one.”

Winston also said he wasn’t concerned about a lack of practice time potentially impacting his preparation for the Bills.

“Like I’ve said, this game (has) such a mental part. I’ve been throwing the football practically my whole life, so I know I can throw,” Winston said. “I just think that it’s about recovery right now.

“It’s about being consistent in my reads and progressions. That’s the most important thing.”


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