Kellen Winslow Jr. travelled on a long, winding road before his arrival with Gang Green. Drafted No. 6 overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2004, Winslow has been injured more often than healthy. Two games into his rookie season, Kellen suffered a broken fibula, sidelining him for the remainder of the season.
Following that injury, the tight end missed the entire 2005 season as well, due to a torn MCL from a motorcycle accident. Since joining the NFL, Winslow has been all too familiar with the training staff; missing a total 51 games from 2004-2013. His nagging knee issues have never let him get too comfortable with any team, let alone any quarterback since 2007 when he racked up over 1,000 receiving yards.
Now that he is on the road to redemption, the veteran has found his niche with the Jets as a security blanket for his rookie quarterback. No. 81 has built quite a bond with Geno Smith, connecting seven times for 79 yards and one touchdown in Sunday's game.
Every quarterback needs to have a go-to guy on their team; Tom Brady had Wes Welker, Jay Cutler has Brandon Marshall, Matt Stafford has Calvin Johnson Jr., and now Geno Smith has Kellen Winslow Jr.
Winslow spoke about his chemistry with the young quarterback.
"It's just all geometry," noted Winslow. "It's all angles and where you're supposed to be in certain coverages. So, just being in the right spot for him and making the play for him. Knowing that he can trust me and I can trust him."
Smith connected with him more than any other receiver, as well as throwing to him late in the fourth quarter, on their game-winning drive, for a clutch 25-yard reception. The Jets need a clutch-man and they may have found one in Winslow.
Clearly Winslow takes pride in being such a trustworthy option on offense,
"I mean I do, but it's expected from me," stated Winslow. "That's why I work so hard because the moment's coming. The moment's coming and you have to be ready for the moment. That's what I prepare for and I need them to trust me."
The veteran tight end has fit it very nicely with the Jets, being a trustworthy and clutch performer. He has made great strides since his rookie year with Cleveland, from having character issues to being a veteran leader. Personally, Kellen believes there are big things ahead of him.
"When its clutch time and it's time to make a play, that's what I live for man," declared Winslow. "That's what it's all about. I don't want to let these guys down and vice versa. That's what it's all about."
Now that Geno has his trusty tight end target, look for this duo to rejuvenate Winslow, creating a replica of his 2007 season. For Kellen, the moment is here and he appears ready for it.