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Jameis Winston could learn a thing (or 10) from Warrick Dunn

Jameis Winston needs to learn how to stay out of trouble
Jameis Winston could stay out of trouble if he modeled himself after former Florida State star Warrick Dunn

Two stories hit my Twitter feed, within minutes, on Wednesday. Both involved star athletes who led Florida State, as freshmen, to a football national championship.

The first recounted the latest in the complicated saga of brilliant quarterback Jameis Winston, who sidestepped a sexual assault charge and other incidents last year to lead the Seminoles to the BCS title.

USA Today reported that Winston, in 2012, was stopped near campus by police at gunpoint, and then handcuffed, for carrying a long-barreled pellet gun. Winston said he was using the gun to shoot squirrels.

According to the report, obtained by USA Today, Winston and a fellow squirrel hunter are lucky to be alive.

"I believe the suspects may have had a firearm so for my safety and the safety of the other individuals in the area, I drew my firearm from its holster and pointed it at the suspects with my finger outside the trigger guard," wrote Officer Anthony Gioannetti in the police report.

Winston, then a redshirt freshman, was not charged, which allowed him to lead Florida State to the 2014 title. Last spring, Winston was cited for stealing crab legs at a supermarket.

When will this guy learn? Winston told at Atlantic Coast Conference media days this summer he has learned from his mistakes.

"I fixed everything," Winston swore.

The second timeline hit Wednesday was a message from agent Leigh Steinberg, who tweeted "@WarrickDunn just moved 134th single mom, family into 1st home by making downpayment, furnishing."

Warrick Dunn is proof Florida State stars don't have to be goofballs. Dunn helped the Seminoles win their first national in 1993. Unlike Winston, Dunn never won the Heisman Trophy. The star running back finished fifth in 1996 balloting, yet left school with his head held higher than any trophy.

He had a fine, 12-year NFL career while devoted his life to making other lives better. One of Dunn's charities helps single mothers purchase homes.

Dunn and Winston both grew up fast, in different ways.

Dunn became the head of his family at 18 after his mother, a police officer in Baton Rouge, La., was killed during an armed robbery. 

Dunn is everything you'd want to admire in an athlete. He even confronted, years later, his mother's killer in prison. Winston, well, is a work in progress.

"You have to set the bar high for yourself," Dunn told firstcoastnews.com last spring when asked about Winston.

Dunn, now 39, said Winston's problems are "a sign of some immaturity. He has to own up to his mistakes."

Winston needs to heed the words, and actions, of another former Seminoles' star.

Winston can't get to "Dunn" simply by dropping two letters from "dunce" and adding an "n."

But he needs to try something.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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