The Browns weren't even a full 24 hours into the 2009 free agency period, when new Coach Eric Mangini and GM George Kokinis already made their first mistake. The Browns were supposed to be the front runners to win the AFC North, ended up 4-12 and didnt score a touchdown in their final four games of the season. With that in mind the Mangini/Kokinis team felt it was in the teams best interest to ship off their best skill position player.
Kellen Winslow Jr., was the Browns 6th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, and after five years, a few injuries and playing through a lot of them, is now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Browns traded the 2007 Pro Bowl Tight End to the Bucs, for undisclosed draft picks, rumored to be between 2nd-4th rounders and maybe a 2010 pick. Now with one of those picks they may be forced to draft a tight end, unless they plan on going with an un-tested Martin Rucker or aging Steve Heiden, coming off of an ACL tear.
Unless the Browns manage to draft at least one Pro Bowl player (not a special teamer) with those picks, this trade could go down as one of the worst in Cleveland Sports history. Sure, the remarks made by Winslow such as "I'm a ( expletive) solider", were a little erroneous, but truly as a player cursed to play with a team such as the current Cleveland Browns, he was a football solider.
His rookie year, then Coach Butch Davis thought it would be a good idea to put his new shiny tight end on special teams, specifically onside kick recovery unit, in the second game of the season. Well he broke his leg and missed the season, not coincidentally Davis 'resigned' a few weeks later.
Next year Winslow tore his ACL in a stupid motorcyle accident, which admittedly was not the best decision of his life. But the Browns re-couped some money from his signing bonus and he came back and played hard.
Winslow made the Pro Bowl in 2007, feeding off of the flash-in-a-pan performance of plenty of other Browns, such as Derek Anderson and Braylon Edwards. But yet the Browns chose to ship off Winslow, all because he lashed out at the team for hiding his staph infection this year.
Now why would the Browns do that? Probably because it was their 6th such incident in recent memory, showing they cannot contain such things in their locker room. Winslow wanted a new contract, and rightly so, he was the teams most consistent player.
He caught almost everything thrown to him, while playing on creaky knees weekly, thanks to his two major incidents, including lots of off season surgeries to clean his knees out.
Meanwhile, Anderson ended up on the bench for poor play, and Edwards was having a hard time making the smart decision of not wearing shoes while running in training camp next to a teammate, in metal cleats, not to mention couldn't couldn't even catch a staph infection, that seemingly resides in Berea, let alone catch a football when it was thrown at his chest.
So Winslow get's shipped out two draft picks, which the Browns did need. But the guy put his body on the line weekly, missed practice because of bum knees and shoulders, but Sunday's he blocked, caught balls that were thrown in the dirt (again thank you FIAP-Anderson), and carried one or two defenders with him after making a catch in traffic. None of his gritty tough player rubbed off on any other players (attention; Popcorn hands Edwards).
But the Browns got mad that Winslow wanted to keep yet another staph infection quiet, didn't reward a guy even the slightest bit for playing through numerous injuries, while turning in a Pro Bowl performance.
Tampa Bay is getting a warrior on the football field, a sure Pro Bowler, who will play through anything short of a broken leg. Maybe the problem wasn't Winslow, maybe it was the Browns.
Or Maybe Mangini felt the locker room wasn't enough for his own ego as well as Winslow's. Again its day one of the NFL off season, and the Browns are again up to their old trick's ensuring their place, below and in front of the front door for all NFL teams.
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