The New England Patriots released tight end Kellen Winslow Thursday afternoon according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Schefter reports that Winslow asked for and was granted his release, possibly due to Aaron Hernandez healing faster than expected.
Winslow's New England career ends after just one game in which he managed one reception for 12 yards.
Even without Winslow, the team remains deep at tight end. Rob Gronkowski, Daniel Fells and Michael Hoomanawanui remain members of the active roster along with the injured Hernandez.
The team also has Visanthe Shiancoe on injured reserve with a designation to return, and former Giant Jake Ballard on the reserve/physical-unable-to-perform (PUP) list.
Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe also speculates Winslow's requested release could have something to do with the tremendous amount of pain he has to play through with his knee condition. At age 29, Winslow's productive career could be coming to an abrupt end after having a fourth team cut ties with him in as many seasons.
Patriot fans are likely more excited than disappointed with Thursday's news, as Hernandez returning to the field anytime soon would obviously be a tremendous boost for the Patriots' aerial attack.
Then, with Hernandez healthy, maybe we can see a return to the daily questions about why All-Pro receiver Wes Welker is not on the field.