Winslow Pushes to Finish the Journey

The Browns TE continues his comeback and wants to go over the top in 2007. It's been a long struggle back, but with OC Rob Chudzinski working with him, Winslow is excited about the possibilities. Plus, notes on the team's quarterbacks...

Kellen Winslow Jr. is on the comeback trail again, and this time he hopes to finish the journey.

Winslow is trying to come all the way back from microfracture surgery performed Jan. 30 on his right knee -- an operation that can require a year of rehabilitation. The surgery is designed to re-grow cartilage. The loss of cartilage resulted from his motorcycle accident of May 1, 2005. The accident forced him to miss all of 2005. He played all 16 games in 2006, but the knee bothered him throughout the season.

"I'm trying to get as healthy as I can before the season so I can help the team win," Winslow said. "I want to be out there with my teammates. My knee is a lot stronger than it was last year, but I have to manage it and be smart about it.

"It was very difficult what I went through last season, coming off my injury, but I felt I owed the Cleveland Browns. This is the game I love to play. This is all I want to do and I love being out there with my team. It's the greatest place to be."

In training camp last year Winslow said he was "90 percent" of the player he was before the accident. With a sly grin he said even at 90 percent he was better than any other tight end in the league. Then he caught those 89 passes -- 16 more than Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez and 18 more than Chargers tight end Antonio Gates.

Winslow's 89 catches tied a team record set by Ozzie Newsome in 1983 and tied by Newsome in 1984. Winslow achieved that record while sitting out practice throughout the week most of the time to save wear and tear on his knee. Coach Romeo Crennel will be cautious with Winslow this year, too, and likely rest him on the second practice of two-a-day practices during training camp.

A closer look at the numbers posted by Winslow and Gates in 2006 shows even though Gates caught 18 fewer passes, his yardage total was 49 yards more than the 875 posted by Winslow. He caught nine touchdown passes -- six more than Winslow.

Theoretically, Winslow's yards per catch and touchdown total should rise under the game plans designed by new offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. Chudzinski coached Winslow at the University of Miami and in Winslow's rookie year with the Browns in 2004. Winslow played only two games before an ankle injury and broken leg sidelined him the last 14 games of the season.

"Kellen is a guy we want to work our offense through and feature in a lot of things along with Braylon (Edwards), Jamal (Lewis) and some of the other receivers we have," Chudzinski said. "Kellen is a heckuva receiver. He's a vertical threat. He can catch the ball extremely well. He can catch the ball underneath (the coverage), on crossing routes and deep routes. He gives you a lot of flexibility."

Winslow said Chudzinski is a genius and the best coach in the NFL. It's a 180-degree reversal from the way he talked about former offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon.

"He's awesome," Winslow said. "He's on you every day. He's great, great, to have around. (Chudzinski's offense) is always attacking. But it's not just the system -- it's the players we have here. We have a good core. We have good guys here, good teammates."

CHARITABLE CHARLIE: Quarterback Charlie Frye presented a check for $50,000 to Team Focus after practice July 27. The money was raised from the Charlie Frye Golf Outing in June.

Frye has been active in Team Focus for five years. It is a non-profit organization that provides fatherless boys with role models and positive influences to build character and self-esteem.

QUINN CRITICISM UNFAIR?: Browns GM Phil Savage is not happy with stories describing Brady Quinn as an inaccurate passer. Quinn was still holding out as of July 30, so he is missing the chance to prove skeptics wrong.

"It's interesting to me that the OTAs were open this year to the media," Savage said. "(Reporters) were there for the very first practice and Brady threw three interceptions. For the remainder of summer, a lot of the national reporters talked about Brady's inaccuracy and struggles with the offense and all these sorts of things. Essentially it was based off of one practice.

"I think he threw three interceptions the remainder of the 15 practices. I just think people are a little off base. Let's just see where he is and get down the road here before we make some kind of judgment of whether he is inaccurate or throws interceptions."

DAISHER RAISES HECK: Special teams coach Ted Daisher won the admiration of fans watching practice at training camp July 28 when he shouted at players who were out of position on a punt drill.

"As a coach, if I see a mistake I'm going to try and correct it," Daisher said. "If you tolerate something, it's going to happen again.

"I could have just gone out there and clapped my hands saying, 'It's okay guys,' but it's not okay. Whenever a drill doesn't go right, it's my fault. I'm the one responsible for it. I obviously need to do a better job of communicating or doing whatever to get that drill right."

Daisher coached the Raiders special teams last year. They ranked last in kick coverage, 30th in punt coverage and 31st in punt return. They ranked second in kick return.


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