LANDOVER, Md. — Tight end Kellen Winslow was upset Sunday night, but the 14-11 loss to the Redskins wasn’t the primary reason.
“It’s bigger than the game right now,” he said.
Winslow expressed his anger with general manager Phil Savage for the way his “undisclosed illness” was handled by the team over the last two weeks. Winslow missed the Giants game Monday night, returned to practice Friday and came off the bench Sunday.
Winslow told The Plain Dealer on Sunday night he had been sidelined by a staph infection. Throughout the time he was out, the team refused to give details of the situation, insisting Winslow wanted it kept private.
Winslow didn’t like the way that made him look, said he never heard from Savage while he spent three nights at the Cleveland Clinic and considered asking for a trade before the NFL’s deadline last Tuesday.
“I was thinking about it, but again I didn’t say anything because I’m bigger than that,” Winslow said. “I could have easily and I thought about it, but I didn’t.
“Sometimes I just don’t feel part of the team. My teammates care about me. Sometimes you just feel like a piece of meat.”
The organization is sensitive when it comes to staph infections. Winslow suffered one after his motorcycle accident and knee surgery in 2005, which was one of at least five suffered by the Browns over the last five years. Center LeCharles Bentley saw his career end after getting staph, and receiver Joe Jurevicius seems headed down the same path.
Savage declined to comment when reached Sunday night.
The silence regarding Winslow’s illness led to wild speculation on the Internet, including some that would’ve been embarrassing for Winslow.
Winslow is also not happy with Savage for the lack of a contract extension. Winslow has three years remaining on his deal but has been looking for more money since the offseason. Savage has repeatedly said he’s open to discussions but that they’re on the backburner.
Winslow didn’t start Sunday and saw extremely limited playing time through the first half. When the Browns were down late and using their third-down package, Winslow played extensively.
Quarterback Derek Anderson came out looking for Winslow, throwing in his direction the first three times he was in the game. But Winslow and Anderson weren’t on the same page — Winslow had practiced once in two weeks — and none of the passes connected.
Winslow finished with two catches for 17 yards. He didn’t make his first catch until 4:40 left in the game.
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.