Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs Acquire Winslow From Browns For Draft Picks
TAMPA - Kellen Winslow said when he recently met Raheem Morris, he had no clue Morris was his future boss. Winslow initially thought Morris was a player, but after being introduced to the Bucs' baby-faced 32-year-old head coach and having a conversation with him, he was enthusiastic about becoming Tampa Bay's newest acquisition. "Have you met this guy?" Winslow said. "Oh, yeah, I'm excited." The Buccaneers acquired Winslow, 25, a Pro Bowl tight end with Cleveland, after trading what is believed to be this year's second-round pick and a fifth-rounder in 2010 to the Browns.Winslow signed a six-year, $40 million contract with Cleveland in 2005, but it is believed Tampa Bay is working on a new deal. The Bucs were able to acquire an elite pass-catching tight end to help whoever might eventually quarterback Tampa Bay. In 2007, Winslow caught 82 passes for 1,106 yards and five touchdowns and was named to the Pro Bowl that season. He averaged 13.5 yards per catch that season and led all NFL tight ends when he posted 17 receptions of 20 or more yards. Prior to that season, Winslow had 89 receptions for 875 yards and three touchdowns. He will compete against incumbent tight ends Alex Smith and John Gilmore for playing time this season. Jerramy Stevens is an unrestricted free agent, and Winslow's signing likely means he is no longer part of Tampa Bay's future. "I'm going to compete for the job," Winslow said. "I came here to compete." Winslow, the son of Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., also came to Tampa Bay for a fresh start. He blamed his youth for two off-the-field incidents he is known for. Winslow was involved in a motorcycle accident in 2005 and missed that season due to injury. Winslow also sustained a staph infection that resulted from his knee injury. While playing for the University of Miami in 2003, Winslow blocked two Tennessee defenders to spring Miami wide receiver Devin Hester. Following the block, Winslow stood over both players and taunted injured Tennessee defensive back Corey Campbell. When questioned during the media session following the game, Winslow showed no remorse and referred to himself as a "soldier." "Everybody makes mistakes, and the mistake I made when I was 19 years old - I'm 25 now - was on national television," Winslow said. "Everybody got to see it, and I stand here before you now; I think I'm a changed man." Cleveland's drafting of Missouri's Martin Rucker in the fourth round last season was a sign the Browns were preparing for a future without Winslow. And today, the first day of free agency, new Browns coach Eric Mangini and general manager George Kokinis decided to cut ties. "The Cleveland Browns thank Kellen for his contributions to this organization over the past five years," Kokinis said in a statement. "We appreciate his passion for the game and wish him success in Tampa Bay." Before making the deal, the Browns only had four picks in April's draft. Winslow missed Cleveland's final four games last season with a severely sprained left ankle and he played for weeks with a sprained right shoulder. During his last interview in December, with Coach Romeo Crennel's firing expected, Winslow was optimistic about his future in Cleveland. "I love being a Cleveland Brown," Winslow said at the time. "We don't know who's going to be here next year. ... I do want to be back here. I love being here. I love playing here. The fans have stuck by me." Winslow's relationship with the Browns was fractured by an ugly feud with Cleveland's front office. He was briefly suspended for making disparaging remarks about the team, which later rescinded its one-game penalty.