Winslow returns to practice with Browns, won't discuss illness

Updated: October 17, 2008, 3:52 PM ET
Associated Press

BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns tight end Kellen Winslow practiced for the first time since being hospitalized with an undisclosed illness and could play Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

"It's good to be back," Winslow said Friday.

Winslow was in good spirits as he got dressed along with his teammates, who upset the New York Giants on Monday night without him.

Winslow
Winslow

During a brief interview at his locker, Winslow declined to give any details about what forced him to be kept at the Cleveland Clinic for three days last week.

"I'm not going to tell you exactly," Winslow said. "It was really the Cleveland Browns' decision to keep it undisclosed and I agree with that. Just because I catch a football doesn't mean I should tell what's wrong with me or what happened. I'm back and I'm happy to be back. I think I'm good to go.

"I just feel because I play professional football and can catch a football, it doesn't mean I should let people into my personal business."

Last week, Browns coach Romeo Crennel cited privacy laws and Winslow's preference not to disclose any medical information.

Winslow's NFL career has been hindered by injuries, but the former first-round pick had played in 36 straight games before sitting out Monday night.

He has undergone at least four surgeries on his right knee, which he severely injured during a near-fatal motorcycle crash in 2005. Winslow's knee was later infected with staph, which had to be cleaned out and delayed his comeback. The Browns have had several players contract staph infections in recent years.

Winslow would not confirm a report that his recent hospital stay was caused by an infection.

He said it would be up to Cleveland's coaching staff to decide whether he plays against the Redskins.

"It's not for sure that I'm going to play," he said.

Winslow worked with the first-team offense during the portion of Friday's practice that was open to reporters. He looked fine while running pass routes for quarterback Derek Anderson, who had his best game of the season against the defending Super Bowl champions despite not having one of his primary targets.

After playing in pain on so many Sundays the past few years, Winslow said it was difficult having to watch on TV on Monday night as the Browns rolled up 454 yards of offense in their 35-14 win.

"It was real tough because everything was going right and it looked like so much fun to be out there," said Winslow, who had an electric-stimulus device hooked up to his right knee. "Not to be with my teammates was real hard and we played so well. It was hard not to be out there."

Winslow seemed genuinely excited to be back among his teammates. As a song by rapper T.I. blared from a stereo system, Winslow pulled backup quarterback Brady Quinn over and recited the lyrics word for word.

Because of all of his medical problems, Winslow has spent an inordinate amount of time in the hospital in recent years. He said his latest stay was no scarier than others.

"I've been through it, man," he said. "It's hard to say, but I'm used to it. I'm better now."

Winslow, too, was able to make light of having to endure grueling rehab sessions, treatments and constant pain.

"I'm a soldier," he said with a laugh while referencing the infamous postgame rant he made as an All-American at the University of Miami. "I can joke about it now, man. It's just playing football. You're going to have to deal with pain, and this league is what have you done for me lately? I just enjoy being on the field."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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