TAMPA, Fla. — Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston found an unlikely training mate in former Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson this offseason. The two worked out together in Houston and Winston raved about Peterson on Monday when he was back in the Bucs facility.
“Being able to be in the presence of whom many consider to be one of the greatest backs, especially of this generation, my generation — to be able to learn [from] and see his work ethic, to see the way he works, man, you really know why he’s great,” Winston said.
“You know why he’s been able to play at a high level in this league for so long, which helps me, because I want to be great,” Winston said. “I want to be considered one of the best players in the league. To see that [after] 10 years, this man is still outworking everybody in his own facility, it’s amazing. It’s very eye-opening to me and motivating.”
Last year, Peterson opened a 35,000-square-foot gym called O Athletik, which features everything from free weights and machines to a steep incline hill, batting cages, an indoor soccer field and an MMA training area. The club is more of a fitness center than an athletic training center, although it caters to both.
Winston chose Houston to gather his receivers a few weeks ago because several of them live in the area. Mike Evans, Derel Walker, Josh Huff, DeSean Jackson, Freddie Martino and Bernard Reedy all joined him, as did his trainer, Tim Grover, his quarterback coach, George Whitfield, and Peterson.
It wasn’t just about bringing the group together, though. It was about “getting them around greatness,” Winston said. “AP was able to work with us some. For them to be able to see what greatness is, it helps us, it helps build us, it helps motivate us.”
When asked if he’d like to play with Peterson, a free agent, Winston said, “Absolutely.”
“I don’t know of anyone that wouldn’t,” Winston said. “But that’s out of my league. I can only talk about what I learned from him and how he helped me this offseason.”
The Bucs have some question marks at the running back position due to the suspension of two-time Pro Bowler Doug Martin, who will miss the first three games of the 2017 season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Martin was at One Buc Place on Monday to begin the team’s offseason program, which he is eligible to participate in.