MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Kellen Winslow II was a dominant tight end at the University of Miami and wound up being picked with the sixth pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. But since then, the man who once described himself as “a soldier” has played for five NFL teams and after being released by the New England Patriots is now unemployed in 2012.
Winslow was traded by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the offseason to the Seattle Seahawks. Winslow immediately clashed with Bucs head coach Greg Schiano about his style of coaching and it was clear Schiano and Winslow couldn’t co-exist.
Seattle took a chance on Winslow and wound up waiving him on September 1 after Winslow refused to reduce his salary. A little more than two weeks later, Winslow arrived in New England and was signed by Bill Belichick.
Belichick had actually talked about acquiring Winslow in the offseason by trading with the Bucs for the tight end. But, Belichick’s good friend, Schiano, told the Patriots coach to avoid Winslow, according to SI.com’s Peter King.
Officially, Belichick told the media Friday that he “felt it was best that we release Kellen for personal reasons.” Winslow played only a few snaps as a Patriot, catching one pass for 12 yards.
King asked in his SI.com column, “was it a physical reason Belichick agreed to let him [Winslow] go? Or was it Winslow wearing out his welcome in yet another place?”
Winslow has struggled for years with injuries since a 2005 motorcycle accident saw him tear the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. He also suffered a broken fibula in a 2004 game as a member of the Cleveland Browns.
He’s had microfracture surgery on his knee in the past and suffered a staph infection while a member of the Browns. In the past, Winslow has said he plays with pain in his knees most of the time.
Still, when healthy, he was one of the more productive tight ends in football during his brief career. Since 2006, he’s averaged 72 catches and just less than 800 receiving yards per season.
The biggest questions Winslow faces now are that after his rough start to 2012, does he still have the passion and the health to continue playing in the NFL; and if he does, will another team take a chance on him this season?