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Kellen Winslow on Seahawks: ‘You just don’t do a vet like that’

Jets tight end Kellen Winslow talks to reporters

Jets tight end Kellen Winslow talks to reporters after a workout organized by quarterback Mark Sanchez in Mission Viejo, Calif. (July 12, 2013) Credit: AP

CORTLAND – Kellen Winslow II has moved on from his time in Seattle.

But the Jets' newest tight end hasn’t forgotten how he was treated while on the West Coast.

“You know, last year,” he said, pausing to chuckle. “I don’t know what happened in Seattle. That was on (head coach) Pete (Carroll). But I’m here now and this is a great opportunity for me.”

Winslow -- a Pro Bowler in 2007 for the Browns -- was traded from Tampa Bay to Seattle in May 2012 but was released after he declined to take a pay cut.

“What happened in Seattle, I couldn’t control that,” he said. “They cut me after training camp. That was out of my control. And they cut me over money. So they put me in a bad situation. I’ve never been put in that situation … It’s just frustrating what happened. And I’ll leave it at that.”

Winslow’s once-promising NFL career was derailed by a 2004 motorcycle accident, a subsequent staph infection, questions about the health of his knee and losing seasons with the Bucs from 2009-12.

He thought he had found a home in Seattle. But four months later, Winslow was gone.

“You just don’t do a vet like that,” he said of the Seahawks. “And that’s pretty much it.”

Winslow has no hard feelings toward Jets GM John Idzik, who was the Seahawks’ vice president of football administration during that time. “Oh no, no, no, no. That wasn’t him,” he said. “That wasn’t him at all. … John gave me a chance to come here and do my thing. So much props to John and he knows what I can do and I’m going to do it for him.”

Last September, he signed with New England, but after playing in just one game, he said he asked to be released.

“I saw the situation over there, and (I’ve) got a lot of respect for them over there,” he said. “But you’ve got to learn the playbook. You need time to learn those plays in training camp. You can’t come in Week 3, with those guys over there, and think you’re going to get in.

“So it wasn’t worth being there, sitting. Because I know what I can do.”

And he’s determined to prove he’s still got it. While Winslow is itching to practice, he and tight ends coach Steve Hagen downplayed the significance of his pitch count.

“It’s smart,” he said of his scheduled sit-outs.

On Thursday, Winslow left practice midway through to join the rehab group on the stationary bike.

“Competition comes around and guy start getting at it, of course I want to be out there,” he said. “But I know I have to be ready for the season too.”

And he has no doubt he’ll be ready for 2013.

Winslow said he’s been on a pitch count “really everywhere I’ve been” over the course of his near 10-year career. And the Jets are hoping to keep him just as fresh with the pitch count and former safety LaRon Landry, who earned his first Pro Bowl nod last year after being placed on injured reserve in 2010 and ’11.

Winslow said he’s played a full 16-game season every year he’s been on a roster to start the season except one. “And that was 2008 (because of a staph infection). I missed six games. So every season, except for ’04 and ’05 (due to the motorcycle accident), I’ve played all 16.”

For Winslow, those kind of numbers are personal -- and very telling about his determination to quell rumors that he’s fragile and past his prime. “It means a lot,” he said of playing through an entire season. “It means a lot to go through what I have to go through and play 16 and finish 16. So it’s a big deal.”

Asked why he’s so confident he’ll be healthy for the entire 2013 season, Winslow’s answer was simple.

“I’ve been doing this since 2005,” he said. “…So will takes over for my pain.”

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