The Jets like Kellen Winslow. It’s unclear whether they like him enough to give him a job.
On Thursday, coach Rex Ryan once again (via quotes distributed by the team) praised Winslow, who has been out of the league since being released after one game in 2012 with the Patriots.
“That athleticism and his ability to catch the football, it certainly jumps out,” Ryan said of Winslow’s performance during the three-day minicamp. “He’s still a very athletic guy. . . . [Y]ou certainly feel his presence.”
The guy who signs the players, however, was noncommittal.
“We’ll talk about that,” G.M. John Idzik said regarding the possibility of signing Winslow. “What’s nice about minicamp environments is you get three days. Unlike when you bring veterans in, or street guys in for free agent workouts, you may get them out on the field for 45 minutes, an hour. In minicamps we get three days with them and we’ll get to teach them some things and see how they apply it. We thought Kellen did a nice job given the fact that you get off a plane, you get into a meeting and a couple hours later you’re out on the field. I think all things considered, he did a pretty good job.”
A decision is expected on Friday, per a source with knowledge of the situation.
The process likely includes identifying someone who will go, if Winslow gets a roster spot. The problem is that some of the lower-level tight ends can be counted on to play special teams; Winslow, who turns 30 next month, surely won’t be.
He entered the league in 2004 as the sixth overall pick. A rocky five-year tenure in Cleveland, marred by a serious knee injury suffered while doing tricks on a motorcycle, ended with a trade to the Buccaneers. After three seasons, the Bucs traded him to the Seahawks. In turn, the Seahawks cut him before the start of the regular season.
Winslow then surfaced with the Patriots, but he left after one game — apparently at his request.
One of the factors the Jets will have to consider is whether Winslow’s talent outweighs the possibility that the player, who rarely bites his tongue, will become yet another distraction when placed under the glare of the most intense media spotlight in football.