If the Browns are to make a dramatic improvement from their 4-12 season of 2004 it is going to start with tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. That's one reason team doctors and trainers are so patient in his rehab from a season-ending leg injury last September.
Five and a half months ago Winslow fractured his right fibula and severely sprained the syndesmotic joint, which attaches the front of one's foot to the ankle. It is the latter injury that is healing slowly.
"I'm running and cutting every day," he said. "I'm almost there. I move it up a notch every week. I'm just not 100 percent yet."
Winslow is not wearing a walking boot or cast on the injured foot. He is as muscle-bound and trim as he was on the first day of training camp last summer.
Winslow caught only five passes before the injury with six seconds left in the second game ended his season. He is looking forward to playing in an offense designed by Maurice Carthon, the Browns new offensive coordinator. Carthon had the same title the last two years in Dallas. Although Carthon did not call plays for the Cowboys, he will have that duty with the Browns.
"I know he got (Cowboys tight end Jason) Witten the ball a lot (87 catches). Hopefully we can do the same here," Winslow said.
Head coach Romeo Crennel said Winslow definitely would be a focal point of what he hopes will be is a run-oriented offense.
"I think Kellen will fit in very well to this offensive puzzle," Crennel said. "Kellen has a tremendous amount of ability. He has size. He does things to a defense that your average tight end does not. He can catch the ball so well with his size, speed and the attitude that he has.
"Kellen has missed a year basically so really he is a rookie. There are things that we are going to have to work on with him. If he continues to progress we will be able to use him to the best benefits of the team."
- Defensive Gerard Warren was traded to Denver March 2. That means the only
player left from the 2001 draft is safety Michael Jameson, a sixth-round draft
- Coach Romeo Crennel wants to switch to a 3-4 defense. The Browns had nose
tackle Seth Payne scheduled for a visit, but Payne re-signed with the Texans.
- Bernie's Insiders
Muncher and Rumor
Central were both updated several times over the weekend.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I had a strong feeling that I was going to be going to Cleveland. (New England) called and talked to my agent but they just didn't step up to the plate and weren't coming anywhere close to anything. Thinking of my family and my future, I'm going to a good situation there in Cleveland." - Former Patriot guard Joe Andruzzi after signing with the Browns in free agency.