Browns TE Winslow could face discipline for comments on GM

Updated: October 27, 2008, 10:14 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

BEREA, Ohio -- Browns coach Romeo Crennel confirmed Monday that tight end Kellen Winslow was hospitalized last week with a staph infection and that he may discipline the Pro Bowler for comments made after Sunday's loss to the Washington Redskins.

Winslow
Winslow

"Sometimes the emotions of the game and the emotions of your personal situation kind of overflow," Crennel said. "So I think he probably said some things that he didn't need to talk about to the media."

Winslow spent three days in the Cleveland Clinic with the infection, which has been a problem for the Browns in recent years.

Winslow said he didn't reveal he had staph because the team, which has had an alarming number of staph cases in recent years, "didn't want it to get out." Winslow said he came forward to protect his teammates.

Last week, the club refused to disclose Winslow's illness. On Sunday, the 25-year-old revealed he had staph and complained about the team's handling of the situation.

"We'll investigate it and determine if anything needs to be done," Crennel said. "My policy is to keep family business in the family. So whatever I do, I do and I'm not going to broadcast it."

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Crennel, though, felt Winslow's postgame remarks were inappropriate. He added the Browns haven't determined whether a fine would be involved for Winslow's comments.

"It's a distraction for the organization and for Kellen," Crennel said at his Monday news conference. "He should've come to the organization first if he had a problem."

Winslow said he "felt like a piece of meat" and was disappointed general manager Phil Savage didn't check on him when he was in the hospital.

In addition, Winslow said that he considered asking Savage to trade him.

Crennel on Winslow

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Romeo Crennel says Kellen Winslow's recent comments are a distraction to the team.

Crennel said he was disappointed by Winslow's decision to make his views public.

Crennel has spoken with Winslow about his comments. The coach plans to consult with Savage and others before deciding whether to punish the 25-year-old tight end, who sat out the Oct. 13 upset win over the New York Giants and caught only two passes for 17 yards in Sunday's loss at Washington.

Crennel was asked if Winslow showed any remorse about his actions.

"I didn't give him an opportunity to apologize," Crennel said.

Savage did not immediately return an e-mail seeking comment.

Winslow declined a chance to speak with reporters Monday.

Winslow's assertion that the Browns wanted to keep his illness undisclosed conflicts with the team's stance it was abiding by the player's preference to maintain his medical privacy. On Friday, Winslow was adamant about keeping his illness a secret, saying "because I play professional football and can catch a football, it doesn't mean I should let people into my personal business."

But Winslow did just that after Sunday's loss, saying the Browns still have a problem with staph "and we have to fix it."

Browns kick returner Josh Cribbs said he wasn't overly worried about a potential staph outbreak.

"It's not a concern for me, but I know the organization is doing everything it can to combat that," Cribbs said. "We had meetings about that earlier this year and they reassured us that it wasn't going to be an issue. But players had concerns."

The Browns, who initially cited privacy laws and Winslow's wishes for keeping his illness a secret, have had at least six known cases of staph -- a bacteria that can cause different types of illnesses -- since 2005. Winslow got staph following knee surgery after a near-fatal motorcycle accident in '05. Wide receivers Braylon Edwards and Joe Jurevicius, as well as center LeCharles Bentley and safety Brian Russell, all contracted staph.

"With anybody who has staph, you're talking about your life," said Browns tight end Darnell Dinkins, the team's union representative. "It's bigger than football. It's bigger than a game.

"Other than that, Kellen is a good friend of mine, so anybody who has a condition or issue like that you want to make sure he is protected and he is healthy."

Crennel said the club has not had a recurrence of staph cases, and that the Browns have been proactive in combating the virus. Players have been educated on the risks of infections and how to prevent them.

"No one has come to me and said he felt like there was a problem or felt like we needed to do more or we weren't doing enough," Crennel said. "And it seems like maybe someone would have come and at least whispered in my ear that we have an issue or something like that. No one has done that."

It's not known where Winslow contracted staph this time. But despite his concerns of a widespread problem at Cleveland's training complex, linebacker Andra Davis said he's not overly concerned about getting sick, and that the team has taken adequate precautions to ensure the player's protection.

"Our equipment guys and our training room guys do everything to make sure we're comfortable," he said. "We have our own rags, our own towels, our own everything. It's not scary."

One of Cleveland's team captains, Davis said he wasn't bothered by Winslow's claims or their timing.

"To each his own," Davis said. "Kellen's our teammate, we'll never turn our back on him. We'll definitely support him 100 percent."

Information from ESPN.com's James Walker and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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