As the Browns prepare for another obstacle in Jacksonville this Sunday, the story of tight end Kellen Winslow is one which remains a troubling tale for many. There's speculation from a national print media entity claiming Winslow incurred something other than a staph infection, as the player openly claimed to the media; something stinks with this entire situation.
The Cleveland Browns organization had an agreement with the player regarding his medical situation and the underlying factors that contributed to the illness, an illness which caused him to spend numerous days in the Cleveland Clinic. It was agreed to by the organization and rightfully so as the health, well-being and privacy of the player was being protected.
It was not the Cleveland Browns that fueled the fire which reached inferno proportions this week; no, it was none other than Kellen Winslow after the Browns' loss in Washington nearly one week ago.
Winslow in essence called out the organization in what he deemed an obvious problem with staph infections. Winslow noted a history of staph-related issues within the Browns organization as happening time and time again.
Winslow not only called the organization to the mat over his illness, he questioned the team's integrity, which obviously did not sit well with normally mild-mannered Browns' G.M. Phil Savage.
''For us to be characterized in this way on a national stage is absolutely unacceptable,'' Savage said. ''And that's why we did what we did.''
As I had previously noted in a Tales from the Inbox article, the Browns were correct in suspending the player for his actions. With Winslow's holding of court coming off what we now know as an agreement between the organization and player, the options for the club were few given the nature of the issue.
Sure, Winslow could be upset that the organization kept the staph issue from the team. Granted, the Browns have had staph issues in the past and the player may have been looking out for his teammates - as well as questioning the motive of this organization in keeping his illness quiet from teammates.
Or, the player simply chose to use this opportunity to air his disgruntlement toward the organization due to his contract status and speculation which was running rampart regarding his condition.
Something drove Winslow to conduct himself in the manner he did to the media. Staph or no staph, as some believe - Winslow spoke out and belittled whatever trust and respect remained between he and the organization.
Something should be noted regarding the lack of support this player has received openly about the entire situation. Granted, the Cleveland Browns football organization expects its players to refrain from public comment regarding in-house issues, but it is obvious listening to those players who have spoken on the subject that those voices do not share the same views as Winslow portrayed to the media.
In reading a column by Pat McManamon of the Akron Beacon Journal, I find a sense that not all are blinded by the simple notion of winning cures all what ails. I couldn't agree more with McManamon -- there is a price to pay for such indiscretion.
Either way, the player would have been better off sticking to the agreed-upon plan. If he did, the chances of us discussing his illness and his affect on the locker room would be minimal at best. The odds of Winslow being suspended would have been nil.
Instead, we are left questioning the sincerity and legitimacy of the situation.
As the days pass, I still ponder the issue. How did Winslow contract staph again? What are the underlying factors involved? What kind of procedure was needed to provide the player relief? Why... why... why?
Luckily, Winslow should be happy the staph infection issue was remedied so quickly. In many cases, weeks, not days are required to fend and fight this type of infection correctly. His disclosure of contracting staph, the apparent quick recovery and subsequent actions of the Cleveland Browns leave us clamoring for additional information to clarify and put all speculation to rest.
Also, the adamant behavior of the organization in citing the methods and training of players and team staff regarding staph infection prevention raises a curious eyebrow in responding to the claim of the player. One can not help but read into the body language of this organization and seriously question the accuracy of what has been provided by the player and team alike.
The issue remains; the Browns organization is not permitted to disclose the medical issue of any player without express consent and they have not so done. This team has stated its position and addressed the immediacy of the situation -- the ball has been volleyed back to Winslow and his representatives.
Remember, Winslow brought on this attention himself, as well as the negative impact of repercussion from the Cleveland Browns organization. While the story was nearly dead from a media perspective -- never did this entity anticipate anything other than the perceived company line to follow statements made from and by the team regarding the player's health status.
Today, there are no answers to these thoughts -- at least not any that a columnist would openly want to write about and bring into the public eye.
I sense there is much more to the story in listening to Phil Savage on his weekly radio show. Savage's quotes and demeanor tell a story, as does the emotion he portrayed in this discussion.
''Given the nature of this situation, it seemed that the people involved wouldn't want it out there,'' Savage said.
Is there more here than meets the eye?
Oh, and by the way, just how did Winslow contract yet another staph infection?