FOXBOROUGH — Newly-signed tight end Kellen Winslow sees some similarities between himself and the player some might assume he was brought in to replace, Aaron Hernandez.
The Patriots announced on Wednesday that Winslow had been signed, and with Hernandez expected to be out indefinitely with an ankle injury, there should be an opportunity for the eight-year veteran to make a contribution.
Like Deion Branch, also signed this week, Winslow said he had chances to land elsewhere. Why the Patriots?
“It was a good fit. I’ve never been in this kind of situation,” Winslow said before Thursday’s practice. “But a situation arose where Aaron got hurt, and we’re kind of similar, so I’m going to come in here and help out.”
“You just have to watch tape, but yeah, there’s some similarities there,” Winslow said. “He’s probably one of the most versatile tight ends in the game, if not the most. He goes all around the field. He can play any position. He’s very versatile in what he does and he’s smart. He’s a very good player.”
Winslow spent his first five seasons with Cleveland, and the past three in Tampa Bay. He was released by the Seahawks during the final cut-down day last month following a preseason where he caught three passes, including a touchdown.
One of the reasons floated for Winslow’s release was because of lingering knee concerns. He chose not to disclose what the Seahawks told him when they let him go — “It doesn’t matter, I’m moving on” — but admitted that his knees hurt when he plays. A lot.
“The thing I concentrate on is not missing games, because then there is nothing held against me,” said Winslow, who has played in all 16 games five of the past six seasons.
He’s had success with the two teams he’s played with so far, and the Patriots have built quite the tight end-centric offense. Winslow might eventually be a very good fit, but has spent the majority of his time so far learning the team’s plays.
“At the end of the day, football is football. What they’re doing here, the volume of the playbook is a lot. It’s going to take some time to get used to,” Winslow said. “It’s verbage and getting used to the calls, getting used to Tom’s cadence.”