FOXBOROUGH — Just nine days after signing with the Patriots in the wake of the Aaron Hernandez injury, tight end Kellen Winslow asked for and received his release on Thursday.
The pain had apparently become too much for Winslow, who was open with reporters last week regarding his struggles with injury, particularly a longstanding knee issue. He had said that his knee hurt significantly when he plays, but that, “It doesn’t matter.”
He added, “The thing I concentrate on is not missing games, because then there is nothing held against me.”
Winslow was signed after Hernandez suffered a sprained ankle against Arizona in Week 2. He played sparingly against the Ravens last Sunday night.
The tight end had been released by the Seahawks on the final cutdown day before the season. He had spent the three previous seasons with Tampa Bay, and his first five years with Cleveland. He managed to play in all 16 games in each of his seasons with the Buccaneers, despite the pain.
In fact, Winslow has missed just six games since 2006, all in 2008 with Cleveland when he played in only 10.
Asked how he had been able to do that, despite the pain, Winslow said, “I would say will, man. Overcome.”
Winslow first encountered the knee trouble in a 2005 motorcycle accident, before his second season with the Browns. He tore his ACL and contracted a staph infection that cost him the entire season.
He had 75 catches in 2011 with Tampa Bay for 763 yards and two touchdowns.
With the release, the Patriots are down a tight end. While Hernandez was walking around the locker room Thursday without his boot or crutches, he has not yet practiced since being hurt. Hernandez is expected to be out at least another 2-3 weeks.
Kraft a nominee
Robert Kraft was among the list of 127 nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013, it was announced Thursday. The selection committee will pick 25 candidates from that list to become semifinalists in November. Fifteen finalists will then be named in early January, and 4-7 will make the Hall of Fame.
This year marks the first time Kraft has appeared on the list.
“It’s a great honor,’’ Kraft said. “As a little kid you dream about something like that.’’
Kraft is one of 24 contributors named, along with 89 players and 14 coaches. Among the players are offensive linemen Larry Allen and Jonathan Ogden, defensive linemen Warren Sapp and Michael Strahan, and kicker Morten Andersen.
Also on the contributors list are former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, and owners Bud Adams Jr., Jack Kent Cooke, Ed DeBartolo Jr., and Art Modell.
Defensive lineman Ted Washington, who played the 2003 season with the Patriots, also made the list as a first-time nominee.
Brady off the list
Tom Brady was removed from the injury list Thursday, after he popped up on it Wednesday for the first time since 2010. He had been listed as limited because of his right shoulder. Brady had regularly been listed as “probable (right shoulder)” in previous years, but the last time that happened was before the 2010 playoff game against the Jets. That week, he was also listed as having a foot injury, which led to surgery. Brady and Ryan Mallett are the only quarterbacks on the roster . . . Kyle Love was added to the injury report, listed as limited with a knee injury. The Patriots were already hurting on the defensive line with Justin Francis (ankle) out, though Brandon Deaderick (ankle) was upgraded on the report. He did not practice on Wednesday, but was limited on Thursday.
Though it seemed before practice Thursday that Bills running back Fred Jackson might not be able to play Sunday, by the time practice was over, there was more optimism in Buffalo. According to the Buffalo News, Bills coach Chan Gailey told reporters, “Fred worked and worked well today, and there didn’t seem to be any residual effect negatively from yesterday.” Jackson, who estimated Monday that he had a 70-75 percent chance to play, originally sprained his right knee in the first game of the season. , against the Jets. Gailey said Jackson worked until the very end of practice. “I think if we make it through the next couple days and continue to improve, I think he’ll have the opportunity to play,” Gailey said. Jackson told reporters, “I feel good,” as he walked off the field. Bills running back C.J. Spiller seems less likely to come back from a shoulder injury. Gailey said Spiller took a few repetitions, but his availability is unclear . . . With the Patriots set to face former Harvard quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in Buffalo, Jerod Mayo was asked who the smartest member of the Patriots is. “Book smart? I’d probably say Zoltan Mesko,” Mayo said. “[He reads] huge books. Like phone books.”Amalie Benjamin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.