No one should be getting one’s panties in a bunch over the fact that neither Kellen Winslow nor LeCharles Bentley are showing up at the Browns’ OTAs. These are simply voluntary practice sessions; the mandatory practices begin with the team’s minicamp that runs from June 10-12. While most players do attend these voluntary workouts, it is not uncommon for players rehabbing from injuries to miss out.
It is also not uncommon for players with contract disputes to miss out on these voluntary practices as well. The question remains for Winslow, is he missing out on these OTAs because of the surgically repaired knee he is rehabbing, or is it because he has begun to gripe about his current contract situation?
Back in February, I wrote about Winslow’s desire to work out a new contract. I still stand by that, because he does work harder than just about anyone on the field. But that is also because he has to, as his injuries (specifically that certain motorcyle-related injury that Browns fans remember all too well) force him to work twice as hard as a player who contains some shred of common sense. However, Winslow has managed to make himself a Pro Bowl tight end, and could stand to perhaps earn more money.
Nevertheless, there is now a logjam at the tight end position. Martin Rucker was drafted as insurance against the injuries of both Winslow and Steve Heiden, who recently underwent surgery to repair a bulging disc in his back. So, as the current situation goes, both the No. 1 and No. 2 tight ends for the Browns are dealing with injury troubles. If Rucker begins to show anything, the Browns will find little reason to give Winslow a new deal. Also, Kellen, you should probably stop telling the world that you can never truly live up to your full potential because of injuries you caused to yourself. It doesn’t help your case.
As for LeCharles Bentley, he is an unrestricted free agent after this season. With the team signing guard/center Rex Hadnot and re-signing guard/center Lennie Friedman, Bentley no longer becomes a must-have on the offensive line. It will come as a surprise to see Bentley on the field much at all, but I hope he can find his way into the rotation.