Jameis Winston confident he'll be vindicated in NFL's investigation

TAMPA, Fla. -- Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston spoke publicly Thursday for the first time since allegations surfaced two weeks ago that he groped a female Uber driver.

He said he "absolutely" believes he will be vindicated by the NFL's investigation and has no fear of a suspension.

"I have no fear at all, but I have to respect their process," Winston said. "I'm just going to respect the process, most importantly. That's all I can do."

Winston previously issued a statement at the time that the allegations surfaced in a BuzzFeed report, denying them. He had been dealing with a shoulder injury and had not been required to take part in his weekly news conferences since he was not playing.

ESPN confirmed that no police report had been filed in Scottsdale, Arizona, the night the alleged incident occurred in March 2016. The driver did file a complaint with her employer, however, and Winston's Uber riding privileges were revoked.

The woman stated that Winston was in the passenger seat of the vehicle and that he reached over and placed his hand on her crotch while waiting in a fast food drive-thru. The restaurant, Los Betos Mexican Food, told ESPN that it does not have surveillance set up at its drive-thru.

Winston believes that the driver was mistaken about the number of passengers in the car and where Winston was sitting in the vehicle, something former Florida State teammate Ronald Darby corroborated in a statement. Darby was also with Winston the night an alleged 2012 sexual assault took place at Florida State. Uber drivers are not required to keep a log of the number of passengers in their vehicle at one time.

"I put my statement out there discussing this allegation, and I've gotta respect the process [of the league investigation]. I've been vindicated several times on the past situation," Winston said when he was asked why he and Darby found themselves at the center of another sexual-assault allegation. "So my statement on those accusations stand firm too. As always, it's always a growing process in everything. And I'm going to continue to grow."

Asked how multiple allegations have affected his family, he said: "One thing about my family is that we're very strong in our faith, and we're very strong in believing that nothing in our past can control our future.

"Since I got to Tampa Bay and how I've grown the past few years -- [that's] meant a lot to my family, seeing my development through college. I think that's more important than what could be said from any outside source."