BESSEMER, Ala. -- For the better part of two hours Saturday, Florida State star quarterback Jameis Winston sat on a dais with his younger brother perched on his lap, listening politely as politicians and local dignitaries sung his praises.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner had gotten a police escort to the stadium where he'd starred in high school, and he had security stationed nearby, even if a hefty percentage of the 250 or so spectators were extended family.
When it was finally Winston's turn to speak at the ceremony honoring him in his hometown of Hueytown, Alabama, he pulled the microphone from the podium and preached to the assembled masses.
"You might be a little bit bored," Winston said to the crowd, "but let's just cheer for no reason."
Winston got plenty of cheers throughout the ceremony, the final leg of his "Jameis Winston Day" tour through Hueytown and Bessemer, Alabama, which included stops at a local children's hospital and a reception at the chamber of commerce.
While Hueytown High now plays at a new stadium across town, a plaque was unveiled to commemorate Winston's football and baseball heroics here from 2008 through '12. The mayor of Hueytown and a city councilwoman both offered official proclamations of Winston's success. His high school coach and the commissioner of his youth football league both retired his jerseys, the latter praising Winston as "a young man of character on and off the field."
Hueytown mayor Delor Baumann acknowledged there was some brushback locally from fans concerned about Winston's high-profile legal battles over the past year, including a sexual assault allegation for which he was not charged and a citation for shoplifting crab legs from a Tallahassee, Florida, grocery store, but there was no vocal dissent as Winston's football exploits were remembered by numerous speakers.