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Jimbo Fisher: Jameis Winston victim of 'character assassination'


For Jameis Winston, Florida State's pro day and the release of a documentary film that highlights sexual assault allegations levied against him in 2012 have inconveniently converged in the same week.

» What do evaluators want to see from Winston at pro day?

NFL coaches and scouts will be at FSU Tuesday to watch Winston and other Seminoles draft prospects work out, and three days later, "The Hunting Ground," a documentary that criticizes how colleges like Florida State handle rape cases, will debut at the AMC theater in the Tallahassee Mall. Not surprisingly, Winston's staunchest defender, Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher, is backing up his player once again.

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"Why is there a question?" Fisher said on WDAE Radio in Tampa, referring to criticism of Winston's character. "Because of the character assassination that he's lived through in the media, and the (misinformation) and half-truths that have been printed. What amazes me about this whole process is the unprofessionalism of a lot of major newspapers, and a lot of major outlets that did not report the whole truth of the situation and only slanted it for their own opinion."

Winston was not legally charged with a crime and was also cleared of any violations of FSU's student code of conduct at a school hearing. Still, the accusation and other acts of immaturity are enough to give NFL clubs due pause before making a first-round draft investment in him.

Winston is potentially the No. 1 overall pick of the draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Club co-owner Joel Glazer indicated at the annual league meetings in Phoenix last week that the Bucs' vetting of Winston has led to a level of comfort with the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner from a character standpoint.

» Analyst: Winston among top-five QBs in past five drafts

Fisher, clearly, has always had that.

And if Winston emerges from the pre-draft scrutiny to be a highly successful NFL quarterback, you can bet Fisher will be the first to declare it.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.



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