Proud Winslow prepared for chance with Patriots
FOXBOROUGH, MASS. (AP)
Kellen Winslow is well aware of the concerns surrounding his health.
In fact, during a rare moment of candor Thursday, the newest member of
the New England Patriots even admitted to playing through pain in his
right knee. Winslow, however, did not miss a game the last three years,
something he was quick to proudly point out.
''It's a question every year,'' he said. ''The thing I concentrate on
is not missing games because then there's nothing to hold against me.
If I was missing games every year or something like that, it would be
After officially announcing the signing of the 29-year-old tight end
Wednesday, the Patriots are counting on Winslow to stay healthy enough
to fill the void 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 on Sunday.
One of the Patriots' most dynamic offensive weapons, Hernandez is
expected to be sidelined for at least a month.
''He's probably one of the most versatile tight ends in the game, if
not the most,'' Winslow said. ''He goes all around the field, he can
play any position. So, he's very versatile in what he does and he's
smart. He's a very good player.
''It's going to take me a while to catch up to where he's at.''
The sixth overall pick in the 2004 draft, Winslow himself had trouble
staying on the field with the Cleveland Browns, playing in just two
games his rookie season due 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 flourished
during three years in Tampa Bay, where he averaged nearly 73 catches,
792 yards and four touchdowns a season.
Winslow was traded to Seattle in May and was expected to play a pivotal
role with Seahawks, but was abruptly released on Sept. 1.
''I think every day you have to prove yourself,'' he said. ''With what
happened in Seattle, I can't say much about what happened. It is what
it is and I have to move on.''
A few teams expressed interest in the 6-foot-4, 240-pound tight end,
including New England (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.''
Whether or not Winslow plays Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens
(1-1) remains to be seen. Regardless, he is excited about lining up
alongside Pro Bowl standout Rob Gronkowski in the Patriots' potent
two-tight end set.
''It's how tight ends should be used,'' he said, ''and they do a good
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady met Winslow for the first time Wednesday
before the two took the practice field together. Winslow has been
studying strategy ever since.
''I've been in the playbook just nonstop,'' he said. ''But he's Tom
Brady. I've got a lot of work to catch up and get on the same page as
''What they're doing here, the volume of the playbook is a lot. It's
going to take some time to get used to. But at the end of the day,
football's football. It's just verbiage and getting used to the calls,
getting used to Tom's cadence and just knowing not just what I have,
but what everybody has, because people switch positions here.''
Coach Bill Belichick admittedly doesn't know much about Winslow. All he
knows is that there's a spot open, and this veteran comes with a
resume, if nothing else.
''I've never coached him before, don't have any background with him,''
Belichick said. ''But we feel like he might have a chance to help us,
so that's why he's here.''
Winslow is relishing the opportunity, too.
''With coach, he's one of the best of all time. I'm not surprised by
anything that's going on here,'' he said. ''They do things and they
practice and obviously play the game like you're supposed to. Teams
model themselves after the Patriots.
''I'm not shocked by anything. That's why they win Super Bowls around
NOTES: The Patriots haven't lost consecutive games since Oct.
30-Nov. 6 of last season, when they fell to the Steelers (25-17) and
Giants (24-20). ... Hernandez had six receptions for 57 yards at the
time of his injury.