Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

21 Oct 2008

Browns Suspend Winslow For 1 Game

The Browns have suspended tight end Kellen Winslow for this weekend's game at Jacksonville. The cause? Calling out the team for not disclosing the staph infection he suffered, the latest in a list of such infections to strike Browns players.

Because when you've got a problem with staph infection running through your team, the best thing to do is punish players who complain about it.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 21 Oct 2008

15 comments, Last at 22 Oct 2008, 9:43pm by Steelerfan1977


by drobviousso :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 11:37pm

These infections are mind boggling. With so much money invested in human talent, at what point does it make sense to just pick up and move to a different facility while every locker room, shower, training room, etc gets gutted and replaced?

by Ryan J. Parker (not verified) :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 11:49pm

Lets give the Browns some credit here. From the quote I read, Winslow pretty much threw management under the bus. I'd consider that conduct detrimental to the team.

Clearly there is a larger issue, but if the quote were taken in proper context then I can't hate on the Browns for this decision.

by andrew :: Wed, 10/22/2008 - 7:10am

Lets give the Browns some credit here. From the quote I read, Winslow pretty much threw management under the bus.

Sounds to me its more like their (management's) conduct threw themselves under it.

by Steelerfan1977 :: Wed, 10/22/2008 - 9:43pm


Management should've been thrown under a steam roller not the bus that's crap its happened like what 6 times or so in 3 years it should be made public and the players should all refuse to practice or play in that stadium until the health dept. clears it.

by rageon (not verified) :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 11:53pm

I've always assumed Winslow is a bit of a tool, but I'll stick up for him here. This is crazy, assuming Staph is actually what he had and he wasn't just making it up to get back at the team.

If everything is at it appears, I can't imagine the NFLPA is going to let this fly.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 10/22/2008 - 12:02am

This is the kind of thing that's really going to help lure future free agents to Cleveland.

by Pat F. :: Wed, 10/22/2008 - 1:05am

The suspension is perfectly reasonable, and it will probably stand up to any NFLPA challenge -- he criticized Phil Savage by name to the national media. I really don't think Vince's comments are fair -- he's not being suspended for disclosing the staph infection, but for making critical remarks about upper management. Whether or not he's right, management has to punish him for that lest the whole organization be portrayed as (more) weak and (more) disfunctional.

Plus, a lot of Winslow's complaint was with how Savage reacted to his return, not so much the hiding the infection. Though I think it's reasonable to assume that he's (rightfully) somewhat bitter that the team wasn't more forthcoming to dispel rumors of testicular cancer, or worse -- since people feel less guilty laughing at him about it -- swollen balls.

That said, this situation betrays some serious, serious problems in the organization, in terms of internal communication, public relations, and, ya know, inability to maintain sanitary medical facilities.

by ammek :: Wed, 10/22/2008 - 3:22am

Don't understand this at all. You only suspend a guy if he goes overboard with a complaint that has no foundation, that puts nobody's health or privacy at risk. In Winslow's case, you explain very clearly how and when to talk to management, and when to the media, and then you address his concerns. Yeah, suspending him is going to help the league tackle staph. Yeah this is going to encourage teams to protect player privacy. Yeah this is going to stop teams writing injury reports from Faerieland.

Fine Peyton Manning for lying about his operation(s). Suspend Mike Shanahan for practising his creative writing on the Broncos' injury list. Send Troy Polamalu to rehab for 'forgetting' how many concussions he's had.

by Theo :: Wed, 10/22/2008 - 6:40am

So where will he play next year? Baltimore?

by Harris :: Wed, 10/22/2008 - 8:46am

The Eagles supposedly tried to swing a deal before the deadline but the Browns didn't bite. I have mixed feelings about that. Of course he's a dynamic receiver, but he can't block worth a damn and they really need a TE who can protect the edge.

The problem is that it's nearly impossible to clean a building of staph. As I understand it, they'd have to bulldoze the locker room, or possibly the entire hospital, and rebuild it with entirely new materials. That ain't cheap, but it may become necessary.

"A little celery is always nice after a good pee."

by ChrisH :: Wed, 10/22/2008 - 8:17am

I typically can't stand Kellen Winslow, but in this case, I hope the NFLPA appeals and wins this case for him. If I'm him, I'm looking at this as I've already had one teammate (LeCharles Bentley) who has almost had his career ended, and potentially serious health issues, due to a staph infection somewhere in the team facilities, and as I've now suffered my second infection, it seems that the team doesn't really care about the issue to me. If I'm out there getting my body beat up every week and my team doesn't seem to care about keeping me healthy, then I'm going to complain as well.

The staph infections with Cleveland have gotten to the point that the NFL needs to step in and do something, even if it's just bringing in more experts from somewhere else to try to clean up their facilities to prevent this. As a player, I wouldn't want to wind up somewhere that can't seem to keep control of this, and if I felt like my health was being put at risk potentially and they wanted me to keep it quiet, I'd speak up as well.

by Expagel (not verified) :: Wed, 10/22/2008 - 8:46am

Here's a brief summary of what the Browns have tried to do since this staph breakout started:


So it does appear the Browns do care about this problem. After all, it's denying their players the ability to play on the field, which reduces chances of winning. With these super-resistant strains, it doesn't appear to be something you can just "wipe out" with some quick sanitation process. However, they should bring in somebody from the CDC to look into it, since it hasn't gotten fixed.

Terry Pluto also ran a column on his theory about Winslow's outburst:


So let's not rush to judgment just yet about Winslow's pure motives.

But as a Browns fan, this whole incident is more evidence that the organization is never on the same page with anything, and is the best at sabotaging itself whenever a little success heads their way. Stuff like this has happened since the team came back in 1999, and sometimes I just wish the team could be run-of-the-mill bad instead of "What kind of bizarre way can the team lose/blow up on itself today" bad.

by mawbrew :: Wed, 10/22/2008 - 10:26am

I don't think Winslow's actions (based on what's been reported) merit suspension either. That said, a number of the cases of staph infection for Browns players didn't occur at team facilities. Winslow, (first case), Bentley, and Jurivicious were never at team facilities after their surguries when they got infected. They were almost certain to have contracted the infection at the time of the surgery (I think all were done at the Cleveland Clinic).

Russell, Taylor and Edwards were all likely to have picked it up at the Browns facilities. There's not enough known about Winslow's most recent infection to have a good idea one way or the other.

by starzero :: Wed, 10/22/2008 - 9:12am

with winslow as my fantasty te, i kinda need him to play. none of the scrubs remaining are going to help me that much.

by thestar5 (not verified) :: Wed, 10/22/2008 - 3:17pm

Don't they know he's on my fantasy team??? Jeez, I'm in the middle of a playoff race here!! So selfish...