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Now, Winslow's on their side
Prior to the Seahawks’ game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009, first-year defensive coordinator Gus Bradley was asked about tight end Kellen Winslow Jr.
“He is tough, now. He is something to deal with,” said Bradley, who was an assistant with the Bucs from 2006-08. “He’s their go-to guy.”
Winslow is now the Seahawks’ guy, after the team acquired him Monday in a trade with the Buccaneers for an undisclosed conditional pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
The Seahawks have been looking for a tight end to complement Zach Miller since John Carlson signed with the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent in March. The club had former Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe in for a free-agent visit. They also looked at the tight ends in this year’s draft class, but also passed.
Now they have Winslow to pair with Miller, who was signed in free agency last summer.
But Winslow never was a prototypical tight end.
“They put him all over the place,” Bradley said. “They don’t just line him up in the core. They’ll flex him out, so no one can get their hands on him.”
And Winslow has been productive no matter where he’s been. He has 437 receptions for 4,836 yards and 23 touchdowns in seven NFL seasons after being the sixth pick overall in the 2004 draft by the Cleveland Browns.
In four seasons with the Browns (he sat out 2005 after tearing a knee ligament in a May motorcycle accident), Winslow caught 219 passes for 2,459 yards and eight TDs. It was while with the Browns that Winslow posted his career-highs in receptions (89 in 2006) and receiving yards (1,106 in 2007) and also played in his only Pro Bowl (2007).
In a 2007 game against the Seahawks in Cleveland, Winslow caught 11 passes for 125 yards. In that ’09 game against the Seahawks in Seattle, he caught six passes for 93 yards. In a 2010 game against them in Tampa, Winslow caught seven passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
In addition to sitting out the ’05 season, Winslow also broke his right leg two games into his rookie season and he had microfracture surgery on his right knee in January 2007.
But he continued his productive ways after being traded to the Bucs in 2009, leading them in receptions in each of the past three seasons – 77 catches for 884 yards and five TDs in his first season; 66 for 730 yards and five TDs in 2010; and 75 for 763 yards and two TDs last season.
Winslow said during a radio interview on Monday morning that the Bucs informed him over the weekend of their decision to trade him, and later in the day the team signed former Indianapolis Colts tight end Dallas Clark in free agency to replace Winslow.
Winslow, who will be 29 in July, is the son of Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow.