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Jameis Winston thrust back into spotlight at ACC Kickoff event

Sam Sharpe / USA TODAY Sports
Jameis Winston returned to the spotlight at the ACC Kickoff football media event.

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was peppered with questions about life in the spotlight Sunday at the ACC Kickoff football media event, and he handled them all in stride.

Winston, who won the Heisman and led FSU to the national title last season as a redshirt freshman, is the star attraction at the event, and reporters started gathering for his media opportunity about 15 minutes before his scheduled time. Players from Boston College, North Carolina and Wake Forest were speaking at the same time, but Winston drew almost all of the attention; teammate P.J. Williams, one of the best cornerbacks in the nation, also was seated at the FSU table, but he essentially was an afterthought. Numerous reporters took pictures of the media swarm.

Winston was magnificent on the field for the Seminoles last season but has had some well-publicized off-field issues, and he acknowledged Sunday that he is spending his life now "probably more in the spotlight."

He described the process as "me seeing the real world" and said he knows people have "different perspectives about me as a person" because of how some things have transpired.

No reporters specifically mentioned him being investigated for a sexual assault or his shoplifting of crab legs from a Tallahassee grocery store, but Winston seemed to acknowledge that he now understands his life has changed.

"I know I have to live up to the hype wherever I go," he said. "If I'm an inch below the standard, it'll be chaos."

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About his problems, Winston said, "I fixed it; I moved on."

He was asked his thoughts on social media and said, "If you think about a tweet, don't post it. ... Do the right thing."

Winston spent most of his media session with a smile on his face, cracked a few jokes and generally was easy-going. He won raves from his coaches and teammates leading up to the 2013 season because of his relaxed attitude, and despite the media cluster Sunday, "I'm definitely enjoying this," Winston said. "It gives me a chance to express my feelings so people can see who I am."

One of his better lines came when he was asked about his Heisman Trophy. He said his father "has my trophy somewhere new every day."

He also was asked about the possibility of players being paid. "We're blessed to get a free education, and that's enough for me," he said.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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