Former Gophers safety and Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie standout Antoine Winfield Jr. had a game to remember during Super Bowl LV this month.
He finished with six tackles, broke up two passes and secured an interception in the Bucs' 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
But it was one particular pass between Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill that Winfield Jr. defended toward the end of the game that caught the most attention.
After he broke up the pass, he turned to Hill and gave him the peace sign.
It was a memorable moment, brought on by Hill giving Winfield Jr. the peace sign after scoring a long touchdown during a Week 12 Chiefs win against Tampa Bay.
The gesture led to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a $7,815 fine.
Still, Winfield Jr. thought he may be able to turn the fine into something good. The Buccaneers matched his fine and gave a donation to the team's youth leadership group, which Winfield had been working with throughout the season.
The group is part of the club's social justice initiatives and features 25 players and staff members mentoring 25 students at Young Middle School in East Tampa.
"Since it got a lot of media attention, it was out there and I wanted to just spin it in a way to make it positive," Winfield told the Buccaneers website about the penalty and fine. "And what better way than to give back to the Youth Leadership program that I did all year? That was kind of how that kind of came about because I was thinking of different things I could do. I spent the whole year with the kids and talking to them and everything, so I feel like that was a good opportunity to go with those guys."
Winfield worked with a group of three students throughout the year, hosting six virtual meetings.
"Being able to talk to the kids and learn more about what goes on in their lives and their perspectives of life itself was a cool experience because you really get more out of it learning from them than they learned from us," he said. "It has just been great just to build those relationships with those kids and see where they're coming from and just guide them the best way possible and give them advice for pretty much anything."