NEW YORK -- Jameis Winston smiled and laughed Friday, posing for pictures with his fellow Heisman Trophy finalists and the big bronze statue he is expected to win Saturday night.
And when it came time to answer questions from the media, the Florida State quarterback did so confidently and without hesitation.
Winston and four of the other six Heisman finalists met with reporters at a Midtown Manhattan hotel for short interviews, and Florida State officials tried to limit questions that were even vaguely related to the rape accusation against Winston.
A state attorney in Tallahassee closed the investigation last week, saying there was not enough evidence to win a conviction.
The 19-year-old Winston, who hasn't spoken directly about the details of the investigation, seemed unfazed by the questions that did come his way. He said he was fine remaining silent about the case.
"I knew I did nothing wrong," he said. "I knew I could respect the process and I'd eventually be vindicated. It was more about me being silent for my family because I didn't want to put my family in those situations.
"We had so much respect for Mr. [Tim] Jansen and everything going around, and knew I did nothing wrong and everything would be OK."
Winston was the only Heisman finalist to show up with his lawyer as Jansen strolled in with the Florida State entourage for the media availability. Winston looked like a college student going to class: black FSU sweatsuit with garnet trim, a matching backpack hanging off his shoulders.
Winston is the overwhelming favorite to win the Heisman after a sensational season, leading the top-ranked Seminoles to the national championship game against No. 2 Auburn.
But the celebration of his success has been muted by a year-old sexual assault allegation that went from dormant to active last month. The Tallahassee Police Department gave its finding to prosecutors, who took three weeks to investigate further and decided not to press charges.
Documents and reports, including the accuser's accounts to police, have been made public. They are less than flattering to Winston.
On Friday in Florida, the accuser's attorney, Patricia Carroll, asked Florida's attorney general to independently examine the investigation, claiming it was riddled with problems.
A few hours later, Winston was taking questions, mostly about football and the Heisman and being in New York city for the first time.
He was asked about dealing with "off-field issues" and two other questions that were indirectly related to the investigation.
"It was stressful, but you've got to look forward," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.