An MRI on Kellen Winslow Jr.'s right knee May 18 revealed what had been suspected all along; he has a torn ACL which will require reconstructive surgery to repair. Recovery time is usually 10 to 12 months, which means Winslow would likely be lost for the entire 2005 season.
Winslow was injured in a motorcycle crash May 1, but the swelling was so severe the MRI confirming the tear was not done until 17 days later. The Browns have not announced Winslow's season is finished. If they choose, they could put him on the Physically Unable to Perform list when training camp begins July 29 and delay putting him on I.R. until mid-October.
One reason to make a roster move soon, however, is then the Browns could proceed with recouping more than $5 million in bonuses and salary either already paid or still owed to Winslow for 2005. Riding the motorcycle was a violation of the contract, which opens the door for the Browns to go after the money.
Not only would team owner Randy Lerner be getting a refund on a product that cannot be used, but the Browns would have that money cleared on their salary cap because Winslow was injured in a non-football activity. A player placed on injured reserve under normal circumstances still counts against the salary cap.
Meanwhile, the Browns are moving on. Browns tight ends caught 61 passes last season, and only five of those catches were by Winslow. Steve Heiden led the tight ends with 28 despite missing the first three games with a knee injury. Aaron Shea caught 26 despite not catching any in the first three games and missing a game in December with an ankle injury.
Coach Romeo Crennel acknowledges the Browns will miss Winslow, described by General Manager Phil Savage as a 'blue-chip player,' but there is no time to dwell on not having Winslow available.
"It really doesn't change the system," Crennel said. "I don't think (offensive coordinator) Maurice (Carthon) is going to put in a new offense. The system is the system and it's designed to work with or without any particular player.
"We're going to go forward with what we have. We have some guys already here
so it's not like we have to go pull a guy off the street and say 'you have to
play tight end'."