Jameis Winston
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston received the crab legs pictured in his widely-panned Instagram post as a gift from "Deadliest Catch" star Keith Colburn. Reuters/Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston drew plenty of criticism Thursday night when he posted a photo of himself with a plate of crab legs to his Instagram account. But it turns out the 2015 NFL Draft’s first overall pick’s widely lampooned upload may have had a charitable explanation.

When Winston first uploaded the photo, many took it as his attempt to poke fun at a 2014 incident in which the former Florida State quarterback was cited for shoplifting $32-worth of crab legs from a Publix supermarket in Tallahassee, Florida. “Thanks Capt. For the crab legs,” Winston wrote alongside the picture, which was later deleted, ESPN reports.

But Shaun King, a former Buccaneers quarterback-turned-NFL analyst, took to Twitter Friday morning to explain the photo’s true meaning. King said Winston had actually received the crab legs he posed with on draft night from Capt. Keith Colburn, the star of the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” series, as a thank-you gesture after Winston helped him auction off an Alaskan king crab at an April charity event. King’s Twitter rant, which was first unearthed by the Larry Brown Sports blog, can be viewed below.

Winston and Colburn attended former Buccaneers fullback Mike Alstott’s charity event in April, the Tampa Bay Times reported. At some point during the event, Colburn jokingly handed Winston a king crab leg, which he accepted in good humor. Colborn tweeted out a link to the story Friday afternoon to acknowledge the meaning behind Winston’s Instagram upload.

A series of off-field incidents, including a Dec. 2013 accusation of a sexual assault and September 2014 episode in which Winston publicly used inappropriate at Florida State's cafeteria, led some football pundits to suggest teams would avoid the former Heisman Trophy winner in the draft. An initial report said the Buccaneers "encouraged" Winston to remove the crab legs photo from his Instagram account.

But Jason Licht, the Bucs' general manager, said the franchise had nothing to do with Winston's decision to delete the picture.

“None of us asked for him to take it off. Maybe he was advised by someone on his end, but no, we didn’t ask for him to take it down. There’s one thing that the nation and the people here in Tampa have learned over the last period of time is Jameis likes crab legs, for sure," Licht told Pro Football Talk.