The Buccaneers quarterbackis returning to Tampa Bay this September roughly 20 pounds lighter, and expectations for his sophomore year are risingas quickly as his weight is dropping.

Winston's weight firstdrew criticismin the days leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft when a photo of him practicing shirtless made the rounds. His gut was on display, and some teams seemed concerned that he wasn't conditioning hard enough to keep up with the physical demands of playing in the NFL.

Player likened to others

His weight gain (and subsequent loss) has been compared to that of Green Bay Packer's RB Eddie Lacy, another player whose weight drew criticism last year.

Like Lacy, Winston had let his snacking and junk food-consumption get out of hand. By cutting out the unhealthy foods (and no longer letting himself eat so late at night), Winston was able to drop 20 pounds.Of course, thediligent exercise and off-season training probably helped.

Already an impressively physical player last year, Winston's new physiquehas many expecting great things from him in the 2016 season. But this is not Winston's first time in the spotlight.

No stranger to fame

Winston enjoyed a degree of celebrity during his time at Florida State University and a fair share of controversy. As a freshman, he helped lead the Seminoles to an undefeated season and a National Championship. For his efforts, he was awarded the coveted Heisman trophy (and a slew of other honors to boot).

His sophomore year showed only improvements in his play, though FSU fell to Oregon in the first-round of the inaugural College Football Playoff.

However, Winston also experienced a gooddealof off-field controversy. From accusations of stealing crab legs from a grocery store to dropped allegations of sexual assault to a one-game suspension for yelling obscenities at a school event, Winston gained some notoriety for his potentially problematic behavior.

That notorietydid not hurt Winston's draft stock, however, and he was selected as the first overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Evidently, the Bucswere more interested in Winston'selite play calling and natural athleticism than any cause for concern--even his "dad bod."

Tampa Bay's New Franchise QB

Winstonproved the doubtersdecidedly wrong last year, with a stellar rookie season.

He completed 58.3 percent of his passes for 4,042 yards and 22 touchdowns--adding six more touchdowns on his feet and turning the ball over only fifteen times all year. Dad bod or no, it was clear that Tampa Bay had found their new franchise quarterback.

But clearly that wasn't good enough for Winston, who decided to lose the gut this off-season in hopes of coming back better than before. Though Winston is in a tough division (especially for QBs, facing off against returning MVP Cam Newton and perennial superstar Drew Brees), he has demonstrated this off-season that he has both the dedication and the grit to take his play to the next level.

Only time will tell how 2016 will play out for Winston and the Buccaneers, butat the very least, Winston has silenced his detractors and proved that he has what it takes to stay competitive at the highest level.

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