Browns are contacting TE replacements

Originally Published: September 12, 2004
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

The rookie season of tight end Kellen Winslow could be over, or at least severely truncated, after the Cleveland Browns' first-round draft choice suffered what is believed to be a fractured right fibula in Sunday's loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Coach Butch Davis said Winslow was taken for preliminary X-rays for a foot or ankle injury. He wouldn't elaborate or speculate on the extent of the injury.

"It's wait and see right now," quarterback Jeff Garcia said. "We have to be prepared to move forward without him. This adds insult to injury."

Team officials likely will wait until Monday, after more tests are completed, to determine the extent of the leg injury, sustained late in the game. But one team source and a league source confirmed late Sunday the Browns strongly suspect Winslow suffered a fracture. In the best-case scenario, a Cleveland source said, Winslow would miss 6-8 weeks.

In fact, ESPN.com has learned that the Browns, already shorthanded at tight end because of a training camp injury to veteran Steve Heiden, on Sunday night began to contact some potential replacements at the position. Chad Mustard, who was with the Browns in 2003, will fly to Cleveland on Monday and could be signed.

Mustard, 26, appeared in 10 games in 2003, and had four catches for 29 yards. He was in camp with Cleveland this summer but was released before the start of the season.

The sixth overall choice in the draft, Winslow started each of the Browns' first two games and had five catches for 50 yard, including one reception for 11 yards on Sunday. After a long holdout and often acrimonious negotiations, the club signed the former University of Miami star to a six-year contract that could be worth as much as $40 million.

Winslow was not the only Browns standout to leave the game early.

Defensive end Courtney Brown, the top overall choice in the 2000 draft, suffered a severe mid-foot sprain that could sideline him the balance of the season. Defensive tackle Gerard Warren, the team's 2001 first-rounder, aggravated an existing pectoral muscle injury and could not finish the game.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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