Kellen Winslow is well aware of the concerns surrounding his condition.
In fact, during a rare moment of candor, the most recent member of the Patriots even admitted to playing through pain in his right knee. Winslow, however, did not skip a game the last 3 years, something he was quick to proudly say.
”It’s a query every year,” he said. ”The thing I focus on is not missing games because then there’s zip to hold against me. If I was missing games every year or something like that, it would be true.”
After officially announcing the signing of the 29-year-old tight end, the Patriots are depending on Winslow to remain healthy enough to fill the gap left when tight end Aaron Hernandez suffered an ankle injury on New England’s third offensive play of its 20-18 loss to the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday.
One of the Patriots’ most dynamic offensive weapons, Hernandez is predicted to be sidelined for no less than a month.
”He’s potentially one of the most versatile tight ends in the game, if not the most,” Winslow announced.
”He goes all round the field; he will be able to play any position. So, he’s really versatile in what he does and he’s smart. He’s a good player. NFL scores
”It’s going to take me some time to catch up to where he’s at.”
The 6th overall pick in the 2004 draft, Winslow himself had trouble staying on the field with the Cleveland Browns, playing in only 2 games his rookie season thanks to a broken right fibula, and then missed the entire 2005 campaign after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a motorcycle accident.
Following a Pro Bowl season with the Browns in 2007, he did very well during 3 years in Tampa Bay, where he averaged almost 73 catches, 792 yards and 4 touchdowns a season.
Winslow was traded to Seattle in May and was anticipated to play a vital role with Seahawks, but was abruptly released on September 1.
”I think every day you have got to prove yourself,” he revealed. ”With what occurred in Seattle, I cannot say much about what happened. It is what it is and I must move on.”
A few teams voiced interest in the 6-foot-4, 240-pound tight end, including Patriots (1-1), which brought him in for a visit a couple of weeks ago.
”It was a good fit,” Winslow said. ”I’ve never been in this type of situation, but a situation arose where Aaron got hurt and we’re kind of similar. So, I thought I could come in here and help out.”
He’s excited about lining up alongside Pro Bowl standout Rob Gronkowski in the Patriots’ strong 2-tight end set.
”It’s how tight ends should be used,” he said, ”and they do a good job.”
Coach Bill Belichick frankly doesn’t know anything about Winslow. All he knows is that there’s a spot open, and this vet comes with a resume, if nothing else.
”I’ve never coached him before, do not have any background with him,” Belichick related. ”But we feel like he may have a chance to assist us, so that’s why he’s here.”