(Kellen Winslow photos courtesy of the San Diego Chargers)
Talk of Fame Network
Kellen Winslow isn’t just a Hall-of-Fame tight end. He’s a Hall-of-Fame tight end who revolutionized the position, with an impact so enormous that New England coach Bill Belichick called the wave of today’s big-money tight ends “all descendants of Kellen Winslow.”
He has that right.
It was Winslow who was the first tight end to league the league in receptions in consecutive seasons. It was Winslow who set a single-season yardage record for tight ends that wasn’t broken for 30 years. And it was Winslow who set a single-game yardage record for tight ends in the playoffs that lasted another 30 years.
So the former San Diego Chargers' star is more than qualified to assess the best and brightest at the position, and he did that when he joined the Talk of Fame Network’s latest broadcast to name the tight ends – other than himself, of course – he’d choose for his franchise.
“Tony Gonzalez and Mark Bavaro,” he said. “Tony’s a wide receiver/tight end/H-back who’s very smart (and) very athletic. Bavaro falls into that same category. He was a blocking tight end who could get you some good yards. He could go downfield and actually catch. There are a couple of guys you just can’t go wrong with.
“(But then there’s) a guy like Ozzie Newsome -- that undersized tight end who was stuck in that Cleveland offense with his hand down on the line of scrimmage so much. They eventually started to move him out and set him up and get him away from that tackle and safety and freed him up -- especially in the winter time in Cleveland.”
But Winslow made it clear how much respect he has for the tight ends that preceded him, guys like Mike Ditka and John Mackey. In fact, he revealed that he thought about not accepting his Hall-of-Fame award if Mackey was not elected before him. As it turns out, he didn’t have to make that decision. Mackey was chosen in 1992; Winslow was elected in 1995.
“Before I went in John Mackey went in (and) thank God,” he said. “I was considering not accepting if John Mackey was not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (I thought) what am I doing here? It would not have been fair because John Mackey was a beast.”