Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kellen Winslow Traded By Bucs


Despite all the questions about his character, commitment and chronic right knee problems, Kellen Winslow never failed to play in a game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Where the veteran tight end might have failed, however, was in his attempt to pass muster with new coach Greg Schiano.

After leading the team in receptions each of his three seasons with the Bucs, Winslow was traded to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday for an undisclosed 2013 draft pick, the team announced.

Tampa Bay also signed free agent tight end Dallas Clark, who played the past nine seasons for the Colts, to a one-year deal.

The swap of tight ends came as Winslow was preparing to join the Bucs for the second week of voluntary offseason workouts, known as organized team activities. The team's decision, Winslow said Monday morning on SiriusXM radio, was prompted by his absence from previous workouts.

"(Schiano) said he was kind of upset that I wasn't there working with the team in the offseason and for the first week of OTAs,'' Winslow told the hosts of the The Opening Drive.

"But look, I've been there the last three years and I've had a successful career so far. You don't just get rid of one of your best players like that. I have nothing bad to say about Coach Schiano. It was just a disagreement on why I'm not there yet.''

The Bucs moved on quickly in signing the 32-year-old Clark, who played the past nine seasons for the Colts but struggled with injuries, missing 16 games over the past two years.

He missed 10 games in 2010 because of a wrist injury and five last season with a leg injury that limited him to 34 catches for 352 yards and two touchdowns.

"Dallas Clark is a consummate pro and proven playmaker," Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said in a statement. "He will be another asset, on and off the field, for our team. In addition to Luke Stocker's continued improvement in his ability as an every-down tight end, we feel we have talent and depth at the tight end position."

Stocker, a 2011 fourth-round draft pick, struggled with injuries last season and made just 12 receptions.
The Bucs also used a seventh-round selection in April on Northwestern tight end Drake Dunsmore.

Winslow has spent at least a portion of each offseason working out on his own in San Diego since he entered the league in 2004, a regimen that was tolerated by former Bucs coach Raheem Morris.

Schiano, however, has so far shown little tolerance for such workout plans. A week after he failed to show for the start of the Bucs' offseason workout program on April 2, safety Tanard Jackson failed a physical and was released.

In both cases, the Bucs waited until the player arrived in Tampa to tell him he was not in the team's future plans. Winslow, who was present for the team's three-day minicamp in April, did not participate in last week's start of voluntary practices. He learned of his fate, he said, after reporting to One Buc Place on Saturday.

"I got the call when I got home Saturday night,'' Winslow told The Opening Drive hosts. "They said they actually tried to catch me before I (left One Buc Place). But it's OK. I'll be OK.''

A consensus All American at the University of Miami, Winslow drew attention for calling himself a "soldier'' and referring to the game as "a war'' after a loss to Tennessee in 2003.

Winslow was the first pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2004, but a leg injury ruined his rookie season and injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident in May 2005 ruined his second.

Winslow then put together three solid seasons for the Browns, including a Pro Bowl campaign in 2007, but was traded to the Bucs in February 2009 in exchange for Tampa Bay's second-round draft pick in 2009 and a fifth-round pick in 2010.

Two months later, Tampa Bay awarded Winslow what at the time was the biggest contract for a tight end in NFL history, extending his deal for six years and $36.1 million dollars, including $20 million guaranteed.

Though he required days off during the week and special treatment for his surgically repaired right knee, Winslow made a steady impact for Tampa Bay on game days in recording 218 catches for 2,377 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was the team's leading pass catcher each of the past three seasons and became one of quarterback Josh Freeman's most reliable targets.

In 2011, however, Freeman frequently tried to force balls to Winslow that were batted down or intercepted. Winslow also struggled at times last season with dropped passes and penalties while catching 75 passes for 763 yards and two touchdowns.

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