Browns tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee when he crashed his motorcycle, two sources within the league told the Associated Press yesterday, placing his 2005 season in doubt.
An injury such as Winslow's typically requires 10-12 months of rehabilitation.
Winslow, who wrecked his high-powered bike while riding in a parking lot May 1, will get a second medical opinion before surgery is scheduled, said the sources, who have knowledge of his injuries and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Although the Browns have Winslow's medical test results, the club can't disclose the nature of his injuries because they have not received permission from Winslow or his family.
Until they are given approval, the Browns may not be able to reveal Winslow's injuries until he fails a physical and they have to place him on an injury list per league rules.
Winslow's agent, Kevin Poston, could not be reached for comment.
Winslow injured his right knee and sustained unspecified internal injuries when his motorcycle hit a curb near his home at 35 miles per hour and he flipped over the handlebars. Winslow was wearing a helmet, but it wasn't fastened properly and flew off when he hit the ground.
He spent nine days in the Cleveland Clinic before being released last week. Winslow, who has been resting at home, has not commented on his accident or his injuries.
Winslow, who missed 14 games as a rookie with a broken leg, breached a hazardous activities clause in his contract by riding the motorcycle. The Browns could ask him to return part of the money he already has been paid as part of his six-year, $40 million contract -- the richest deal given to a tight end.
Meanwhile, police in suburban Westlake, Ohio, concluded their investigation of Winslow's accident this week and turned the case over to city law director John Wheeler, who will determine whether charges should be filed, Lieutenant Ray Arcuri said. Winslow could be charged with reckless operation, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.
Smith to be suspended
Running back Onterrio Smith, who led the Vikings in rushing last season, will be suspended for the season by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy a third time, according to two reports.
Pending an appeal, Smith will be forced to sit out the 2005 season, ESPN.com and the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported yesterday.
Smith skipped a drug test, which qualifies as a violation under league policy, ESPN.com reported, citing two unidentified team sources. Missing a drug test is equivalent to a positive test, and Smith had already violated league policy twice and served a four-game suspension last season. A third violation brings a one-year suspension. A player would have to apply to the commissioner for reinstatement after that suspension is served.
Smith told police the gear was for his cousin. He wasn't charged by police, and the NFL has said possession of the device alone isn't enough to violate league drug policies.
Williams, Saban talk
Ricky Williams is discussing a comeback with the Dolphins, coach Nick Saban said. Saban acknowledged holding recent discussions with Williams, whose sudden retirement stunned the Dolphins shortly before training camp began last season. He would not divulge specifics of the talks, but has long said that he was open to the prospect of Williams returning. ''Ricky still seems to be very, very interested in coming back," Saban said. ''As I've said before, the things that we discuss, we've decided not to talk about publicly. I think that I can safely say that you all know about his situation as I do." Williams, who led the NFL in rushing in 2002, still owes the Dolphins $8.6 million for breaching his contract by unexpectedly retiring. If Williams returns, he'd likely have to wait until July to unretire. Otherwise, he would face a one-year suspension for his violations of the NFL's substance abuse program. Williams will still face a four-game suspension for failing a third drug test for marijuana last July, just before he retired . . . Jerry Rice has spoken with Broncos coach Mike Shanahan about the possibility of playing in Denver next season, his agent said. ''They had an excellent conversation," Jim Steiner told the AP. ''But they haven't taken it to the next level." Shanahan coached Rice when he was offensive coordinator of the 49ers from 1992-94 . . . The Broncos acquired punter Todd Sauerbrun from the Panthers in exchange for punter Jason Baker and a seventh-round draft pick in 2006. The Panthers were expected to release the two-time Pro Bowler after June 1 if a deal could not be worked . . . The Eagles gave defensive coordinator Jim Johnson a four-year extension.