Gee, it would be nice if this article was a positive upbeat article about the Browns beginning OTA’s wouldn’t it?
The Browns did indeed begin voluntary workouts yesterday. Twelve voluntary conditioning slash practices will take place over the next three weeks. There will be another round of voluntary workouts prior to training camp. Why the special emphasis here? Two Cleveland Browns did not participate in these vol… oh you get the idea.
Center LeCharles Bentley was the first MIA player. He has not yet taken his team physical that would clear him to play for the Browns. He was supposed to be in New York yesterday to be seen by his personal physician before coming to Cleveland. Let’s remember that Bentley was given a clean bill of health by his doctor last year before Cleveland doctors failed him. I can’t imagine that the answer is going to be different this time from his guy, but none the less Bentley insists that he will play somewhere this year. I hope he does, and I hope it is for the Browns.
The other player not on the field yesterday was Browns TE Kellen Winslow. From Mary Kay Cabot-
Winslow has been in San Diego rehabbing his surgically repaired knee, but it’s still unclear whether his absence is health-related or has more to do with the fact he wants to re-do his contract. Winslow’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, reached by phone on Tuesday, said, “I have no comment on Kellen’s situation.”
Voluntary workouts are widely known throughout the league as mandatory. Even if you are rehabbing an injury, players usually do so at the facility when the team is meeting. Those that stay away from OTA’s? They are usually making a statement. This is when they can get away with skipping out without having it hurt their paycheck. But the public notices. The team notices. So why is Winslow missing? Because he feels slighted. He feels like the Browns owe him something. He thinks that he should cash in on his pro-bowl appearance. He feels that the Browns are in some way ‘doing him wrong’ because they restructured his contract after his accident. I know that Rock is going to disagree with me on this one, but what an arrogant prick!
Make no mistake, the Browns are posturing themselves against this renegotiation. From that same article-
Winslow has not been seen in Berea for most of the offseason and declined a request to be interviewed. Not including bonuses, he’s scheduled to make $4 million in 2008, $4.5 million in 2009 and $4.75 million in 2010. Browns General Manager Phil Savage has made it clear the Browns have treated Winslow well and that he’s under contract for three more years.
Add to that the drafting of TE Martin Rucker, no make that trading away next year’s third round pick to move up and get Rucker. The writing is on the wall here- the Browns aren’t budging. And I don’t think they should. Winslow breached his contract. The Browns had every right to tear up his deal and leave him sitting on the curb by his motorcycle. Instead they offered him a lifeline. They gave him the opportunity, through incentives to make every penny of that first contract, you know the one he held out for the first time around. They could have demanded the bonus money back that they had given him, but they didn’t. Winslow did not have to sign that deal. He could have said no thanks, release me and I’ll rehab and sign with another team. It wouldn’t have been a smart move, but his family could have afforded it, and now he’d be playing for whoever he wanted.
From an ESPN article during the Pro Bowl-
“When I got hurt the contract got renegotiated so some things changed. But I think I’ve proven these past two years that I’m one of the elite tight ends. My value on the field … they put an extra DB in the game, and that really changes the whole game. They have to guard me kind of like a wide receiver so, you know, yeah, I’ve got to get that new money.”
After the laughter died down, Winslow added:
“This is my life, what I always wanted to do. My career didn’t start out like I wanted it to with the injuries and all, and I started asking questions like, `Why me, why’d I get hurt?’ But without the struggle, there is no progress, and this is progress. I stayed positive, worked my butt off, and now I’m here.
Um, Kellen? You are scheduled to make $4 million in ’08. $4.5 million next year. Yeah, there are incentives that have to be met, but they are incentives that you agreed to. How about those Tight Ends that were at the Pro Bowl with you? Antonio Gates will make $3 million this year. Tony Gonzalez will only make $1 million, but his signing bonus makes that number jump to around $4 million. Jason Witten is scheduled to make just under $2 million, but again his bonus will bring that number to around the $4 million mark. So what is the problem? Yeah, you may have missed out on some bonus money, but I’m pretty sure that was YOUR fault. I don’t remember the Browns giving you a motorcycle and asking you to learn to do stunts to entertain fans at training camp.
Yes, Kellen Winslow plays hurt. Yes, Kellen Winslow gives all he has when he is on the field. No question about that. But who does he think he is? If he follows through with this posturing and holds out of training camp, he’s dead to me. I know, he’ll be so upset about that. He and Rosenhaus can cry all the way to the bank.
Well, go ahead. Tell me how crazy I am…
(Contract figures from rotoworld.)