Buccaneers TE Kellen Winslow took a few minutes during his Friday visit to NFL Network to share thoughts about his coach, his quarterback, his Hall of Fame father and why he’s misunderstood by the masses.
What impact has your dad, Kellen Winslow Sr., made on your life?
KW: He’s been everything. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be the man I am today or the person I’ve grown to be. He’s my role model, so he’s everything, in a nutshell.
How about in helping you on the field?
KW: I talk to him, but not so much about football. It’s more of a regular father-son relationship. He teaches me a few things here and there, but it’s kind of in my blood.
I noticed you’re not on Twitter.
KW: (laughing) I don’t get it. I don’t really understand it, like, “I’m sitting here in the green room right now.” I’m going to tweet that. It’s kind of a trap.
You on Facebook?
KW: I’m not on anything.
Not really a computer guy?
KW: My hobby is I DJ.
KW: I have before, a few years ago, but I just do it on my own at home.
Do you see the Bucs as a Super Bowl team?
KW: Yeah, I do. We need a couple pieces, but I really think we can get there and win it with the team we have now.
You’ve now been on two teams that won 10 games but just missed the playoffs. How frustrating is that?
KW: It is. The first time in ’07 (with the Browns), we had to beat the Bengals, and we lost. And we lost to Detroit this year with the Bucs. It’s real frustrating, you know, I haven’t had any playoff games yet. What can you do?
Are you talking to your Bucs teammates about staying focused?
KW: I don’t really need to say much. (Coach) Raheem Morris says everything. You don’t need to say anything after him. So, we’re fine.
You’ve played with a laundry list of young quarterbacks in Cleveland and now in Tampa, with varying results. What makes Josh Freeman the real deal?
KW: I just think it’s the way he’s matured so fast. And it’s somebody I can grow with. So I don’t want to leave. I don’t want another quarterback. I want someone I can grow with, so we can get to the elite level.
Have you found peace in Tampa?
KW: I think it’s the perfect place. It’s warm weather. I’ve got a great head coach. I had a great head coach in Romeo Crennel (in Cleveland), but this guy (Morris), he can relate to a player so much because he did play the game and he is so young. I really couldn’t ask for anything better.
Chris Cooley visited NFL Network this week and dropped his top five tight ends list. You weren’t on that list. Your thoughts?
KW: I mean … I know what I can do. I haven’t done enough yet to be on that list.
Who would you put No. 1?
KW: Tony Gonzalez. He’s got all the records. He’s done everything perfect. He sets the bar.
Bucs CB Aqib Talib is in the middle of a tumultuous offseason. How important is he to your team?
KW: We need that guy to win. Talking about Super Bowls — we need him really more than anyone besides Freeman. He’s that good. He locks down receivers. He’s got to iron out what he’s got to iron out, but we need him as much as anybody.
Ohio State melted this week. You came from a big program (Miami). Is it realistic to think any college program can stay pure? Is the system a bit flawed?
KW: We all struggled in college. I think (through scholarships) we got $800 a month. I think rent was $500. You only have $300, $200 left over. So it’s hard not to accept the outsiders, agents’ (offers). I think we should pay the players a little more. Nothing close to NFL, but just a couple hundred bucks. We could have used that in college. I’m not surprised by what’s out there.
Do you feel for former Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel a little bit?
KW: Yeah. He’s put in a tough situation. I don’t think it’s his fault. He’s the leader of men, and it’s hard, when you’re a family like that … to just deny it.
Let’s say there’s a film out about your life, who do you want to play you?
KW: (laughing) Probably, I don’t know, somebody who looks like me … Vin Diesel.
Do the fans know you? Do they know who you are?
KW: No. And it’s kind of like I’ve been … guarded. I’ve had my guard up. Because of what has happened years ago, in the past. I’ve been guarded because of how I was viewed on TV. I’m nothing like that. It’s just how it came off. I need to do a better job of getting out there and people seeing my face — and just being me.
— Marc Sessler