Jameis Winston didn't actually steal crab legs during an infamous incident last year. At least that's what he implied during a segment recorded back in February for ESPN's "Draft Academy."
Instead, he told Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh on the show, the former Florida State quarterback was given the seafood by a rogue Publix grocery store employee.
During the segment, Winston asks Harbaugh how he should handle questions about the incident when they come up at the NFL Scouting Combine, which took place later that month.
"How I'm supposed to handle, like, if I just got them for free? I just say, 'I just messed up?'" Winston asked.
Harbaugh asks Winston to explain to him exactly what happened. The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner says there was a Publix employee who told him, "Hey, anytime you come in here, I got you," and that he had "hooked us up" once before.
So when Winston came in for his $32.72 order of crab legs, "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 said.
Winston received a citation for the incident and was suspended from the Florida State baseball team while he completed 20 hours of community service.
His explanation to Harbaugh is actually not all that different from what Winston said when we all thought he was admitting to shoplifting while issuing an apology last year: "In a moment of youthful ignorance, I walked out of the store without paying for one of my items."
But now we know it wasn't just shoplifting (which, as far as I'm concerned, is still what you call it when someone walks out of a store with something that hasn't been paid for), but also an NCAA rules violation since student-athletes aren't supposed to accept impermissible benefits.
Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher said Wednesday during the ACC spring teleconference that Winston's admission "was totally news to me."
"If he says it is [true], I guess it is," Fisher said of Winston. "I had no knowledge of it until I came in this morning. But FSU, we did make contact with Publix back then to make sure there was nothing going on."