An ill-fated motorcycle accident in 2005 may have set the stage for a brilliant but short-lived career for Browns third-year tight end Kellen Winslow.
Winslow underwent reconstructive surgery on his right knee after the accident, then needed microfracture surgery on it in the past off-season. While he's tied with receiver Braylon Edwards for the team lead in receptions with 29 and is second in yards with 506, Winslow admitted Thursday that the knee is giving him more problems than the left shoulder he separated in week 3 at Oakland.
His tone made it sound like the knee would never be 100 percent again.
''My knee still hurts a lot,'' he said. ''It's not my speed, it's my burst, but I play through it. It's not a healthy knee. I've been playing through it for two years. Imagine if I was healthy.''
It seems amazing Winslow played 16 games in 2006, catching 89 passes for 875 yards and 3 TDs. His practice time had to be closely monitored and limited. He's always the last man on the practice field this season.
But Browns offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, Winslow's position coach at Miami and a fellow Hurricane, is trying to make the most of what he has for as long as he has him. Chudzinski is moving Winslow and Edwards around, making them two of the biggest receiving threats in the league.
Winslow may not match his receiving total of last season, but he's Cleveland's toughest player. General manager Phil Savage has to hope that Winslow can last long enough to put the struggling franchise back on the NFL map.