Kellen Winslow, just a week from signing with the New England Patriots, asked to be released by the team Thursday — and the club granted him his wish, a source told ESPN.
New England signed the free agent on Sept. 19 after tight end Aaron Hernandez sprained his ankle against the Arizona Cardinals a few days before. In his one game with the Patriots, a 31-30 loss to the Baltimore Ravens Sunday night, Winslow played just four snaps. He had one catch for 12 yards and dropped a pass along the sideline.
There was no clear indication what was next for Winslow, the son of Hall of Famer father Kellen Winslow, who was perhaps the most talented tight ends to play the position.
Hernandez has yet to return to practice, but he apparently is healing faster than expected, meaning when Winslow’s role on the team might have been diminished even further with Hernandez’ return to the field.
In the days leading up to the game, coach Bill Belichick noted Winslow’s football intelligence as a factor in him being able to play in the game despite having been with the team for a short period of time.
“He’s a pretty experienced guy, he’s smart, he’s (played) a lot of football,” Belichick said.
One day after signing with the Patriots, Winslow had lauded the team’s winning ways over the last decade and expressed excitement about the possibility of contributing. He also acknowledged that he plays in pain because of his knee.
“I would say ‘will.’ Overcome. The thing I concentrate on is not missing any games,” he said.
The Patriots still have Rob Gronkowski, Hernandez, six-year veteran Daniel Fells and third-year player Michael Hoomanawanui on the tight end depth chart.