Winslow's suspension lifted; TE fined $25,000, won't play Sunday

Updated: October 26, 2008, 5:25 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Cleveland Browns have rescinded their one-game suspension of tight end Kellen Winslow for comments and behavior disparaging to the organization, the team announced late Saturday.

AFC North blog

Kellen Winslow's settlement with the Browns could signal a turning point regarding players' rights to speak freely in NFL locker rooms, James Walker writes. Blog

• Blogs: AFC North | NFL

However, Winslow will not play Sunday at Jacksonville because he did not travel with the team and did not practice this week. He will be inactive.

The two sides worked on a setttlement early Saturday night. Winslow will receive his $235,294 game check but be fined $25,000, according to two league sources. The fine stems from comments Winslow made on Oct. 19 about the way the Browns handled his staph infection.

"I do realize that I am a public person and my words whether constructively articulated or expressed emotionally, carry a lot of weight in the public arena," Winslow said in a statement. "My intentions were never meant to be disruptive or distracting to the Browns organization, but rather to voice my concerns about my medical condition. I am confident that the Browns organization has taken the necessary steps to make our facility a healthy working environment.

Winslow
Winslow

"I formally reiterate my respect for the Browns organization, my teammates and the city of Cleveland. I look forward to getting back to playing football and being a productive member of this team. It's now time to focus on winning."

Because of the settlement, there will be no appeal hearing on Tuesday.

The team released the following statement: "The Cleveland Browns are pleased to have this matter behind us. We have worked through our differences and look forward to having Kellen return."

According to a union source, the Browns decided to settle once the players' union obtained documented evidence in the form of text messages that proved the team instructed Winslow not to tell anyone he has a staph infection. The Browns have had six cases of staph the past few years. Winslow felt the team was worried about their image while he was worried about his health, the source said.

Kellen Winslow interview

NFL.com Video

Best of all-time? Kellen Winslow says that when it's all said and done he wants to be the best tight end ever.

The union was confident it would win Tuesday's hearing but decided it was best to accept the fine as a small compromise to put an end to this case.

The settlement puts an end to the grievance that appeared to get uglier by the day. Four days after Winslow's comments, Browns general manager Phil Savage defended his decision to suspend Winslow last Thursday in a radio interview.

Winslow is Cleveland's leading receiver with 21 catches for 187 yards and a touchdown. He was the first-round pick of the Browns in 2004 and had back-to-back 80 catch seasons in 2006 and 2007.

ESPN senior NFL anlayst Chris Mortensen and ESPN.com's James Walker contributed to this report.

ALSO SEE