Kellen Winslow on Patriots preparation: ‘That’s why they win Super Bowls’
|09.20.12 at 1:26 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Tight end Kellen Winslow knew exactly what he was getting into when he agreed to come to play for the Patriots this week.
The 29-year-old veteran acknowledged Thursday that he met with the Patriots a couple of weeks ago but no contract was reached since there was no opening. That, of course, all changed Sunday afternoon midway though the first quarter of the Patriots home opener when Aaron Hernandez went down with a sprained right ankle.
“It was a good fit,” said Winslow, who was regarded much in the same light by scouts as Hernandez, a pass-catching tight end who can separate. “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.”
What did coach Belichick tell him when he spoke with him earlier this week?
“Get your butt on a plane and get over here,” Winslow said.
Belichick, Tom Brady and Winslow have a lot of catching up to do since none of the three have had any professional working experience with each other.
Winslow spoke for the first time Thursday since agreeing to terms on Tuesday and joining the team in Wednesday’s practice. The star tight end was a first-round draft pick of the Browns in 2004, chosen sixth overall out of Miami. Fifteen picks later, Vince Wilfork went to the Patriots.
But since, Winslow, 29, has battled chronic knee and leg injuries. Two games into his rookie season, he broke his right fibula and was expected to return in time for the season opener in 2005. But in May of that year, he was involved in a motorcycle accident and was thrown from the bike, tearing his right ACL. His first breakout season came in 2007, when he had 82 catches for 1,106 yards and five touchdowns.
Now, with the injury to Hernandez, he’s getting the chance to prove his value on a team whose expectations are Super Bowl or bust. To meet those expectations, Winslow has been cramming with the playbook, ready for his first test – he hopes – this Sunday night in Baltimore.
“We’ll see,” Winslow said. “It’s just my job to make plays when it comes to me. I just have to get the offense down. I have a lot of work to do.
“I’m not shocked by anything. That’s why they win Super Bowls around here. I’m not shocked by anything. I expected it. The way these guys prepare, I already knew.”
Since 2006, Winslow has played all 16 games in five of his last six seasons, though he admitted Thursday to playing with a great deal of pain in the right knee.
“Yeah, but it doesn’t matter,” Winslow said when asked if he’s playing in pain. “I think that’s a question every year. The thing I concentrate on is not missing games because then there’s nothing to hold against me.”
Winslow caught 75 passes for 763 yards and two touchdowns in 2011 and was acquired by the Seahawks in May in a trade with Tampa Bay. He was released by the Seahawks in late August after reportedly refusing to take a pay cut.
“I would say will, man,” Winslow said of his drive to excel in the NFL. “Overcome, and this is my dream to play. If I were missing games every year or something like that, it would be true.”