Kellen Winslow

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For Winslow's son, see Kellen Winslow II.
Kellen Winslow
Kellen Winslow Sr cropped.jpg
No. 80
Tight end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1957-11-05) November 5, 1957 (age 56)
Place of birth: St. Louis, Missouri
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) Weight: 250 lb (113 kg)
Career information
High school: East St. Louis (IL)
College: Missouri
NFL Draft: 1979 / Round: 1 / Pick: 13
Debuted in 1979 for the San Diego Chargers
Last played in 1987 for the San Diego Chargers
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions 541
Receiving Yards 6,741
Touchdowns 45
Stats at NFL.com

Kellen Boswell Winslow Sr. (born November 5, 1957) is a former American professional football player in the National Football League (NFL). A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he is widely recognized as one of the greatest tight ends in the league's history.[1] Winslow played his entire NFL career from 1979 to 1987 with the San Diego Chargers after being selected in the first round of the 1979 NFL Draft. He played college football for the University of Missouri, where he was a consensus All-American. He was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Winslow is the current director of athletics at Florida A&M University.[2] He has previously held administrative roles at Central State University where he was athletic director, and the vice president for athletics and wellness at Lakeland College (Wisconsin)[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Winslow did not play high school football until his senior year. Until then, he was a self-described "nerd" who played chess.[5]

College career[edit]

Winslow played for the Missouri Tigers, and was a two-time all-conference selection in the Big Eight and a consensus All-American in 1978.[6]

Professional career[edit]

He was drafted in the first round of the 1979 NFL Draft by the Chargers and played for them until 1987, when he retired from football due to injury. After a knee injury prematurely ended his rookie season, Winslow, as part of Air Coryell, led the NFL in receptions in 1980 and 1981, becoming the first tight end ever to lead the league in receptions in back to back seasons. He also exceeded the 1,000 yards receiving milestone in 3 different seasons, including setting an NFL single season record for receiving yards by a tight end with 1,290 yards in the 1980 season. The record stood until Rob Gronkowski totaled 1,327 in 2011.[7] In a 1981 regular season game, Winslow tied an NFL record by catching five touchdown passes.

In a 1981–82 playoff game against the Miami Dolphins that became known as The Epic in Miami, Winslow caught a playoff record 13 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown, while also blocking a field goal with seconds remaining to send the game to overtime in one of the greatest single player efforts in NFL history. Winslow's yardage total stood as the playoff record for tight ends for 30 years until Vernon Davis's 180 yards in 2012.[8] What made Winslow's performance all the more memorable was that fact during the game he was treated for a pinched nerve in his shoulder, dehydration, severe cramps, and received three stitches in his lower lip. After the game, a picture of Winslow being helped off the field by his teammates[9] became an enduring image in NFL Lore.

Tight ends prior to Winslow were primarily blockers lined up next to an offensive lineman and ran short to medium drag routes.[10] Winslow was put in motion so he would not be jammed at the line, or he was lined up wide or in the slot against a smaller cornerback.[11] Former Chargers assistant coach Al Saunders said Winslow was "a wide receiver in an offensive lineman's body."[10] Chargers head coach Don Coryell said, "If we're asking Kellen to block a defensive end and not catch passes, I'm not a very good coach[12] Back then, defenses would cover Winslow with a strong safety or a linebacker, as zone defenses were not as popular.[13] Strong safeties in those times were almost like another linebacker, a run defender who could not cover a tight end as fast as Winslow. Providing another defender to help the strong safety opened up other holes.[14] Former head coach Jon Gruden called Winslow the first "joker" in the NFL. He could line up unpredictably in any formation from a three-point stance as a blocker to a two-point stance or being in motion as a receiver.[15] Head coach Bill Belichick notes that the pass-catching tight ends who get paid the most money are "all direct descendants of Kellen Winslow" and that there are fewer tight ends now who can block on the line.[15]

Winslow played in five Pro Bowls, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995, and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002. In his nine NFL seasons, Winslow caught 541 passes for 6,741 yards and 45 touchdowns. Kellen was a consensus All-Pro in 1980, 1981, and 1982. He is also a member of the NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. He was the San Diego Chargers' honorary captain at Super Bowl XXIX, and one of seven participants in the game's pregame coin toss, joining fellow 75th Anniversary Team members Otto Graham, Mean Joe Greene, Ray Nitschke and Gale Sayers, as well as fellow PBHOF Class of 1995 members Steve Largent, then a U.S. Congressman, and Lee Roy Selmon. Winslow worked as a college football announcer with Fox Sports Net. In 2008, he was appointed the Athletic Director of Central State University in Ohio.

In 1999, he was ranked number 73 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players of all time.

Football family[edit]

Winslow's son, Kellen Winslow II, also plays tight end in the NFL. Winslow II was drafted in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft from the Miami Hurricanes by the Cleveland Browns, the team the Chargers traded with to draft the elder Winslow in 1979. He wore his father's jersey No. 80 when he played for the Cleveland Browns, as a sign of respect for his accomplishments.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tight end rankings: Do Sharpe, Gonzalez deserve top spot?". USA Today. 2008-07-21. 
  2. ^ http://espn.go.com/college-sports/story/_/id/10745013/kellen-winslow-sr-named-athletic-director-florida-rattlers
  3. ^ Winslow Sr. hired to guide Central State into full Division II membership – College Sports – ESPN
  4. ^ Lakeland College, Sheboygan WI
  5. ^ Jaworski 2010, p.91
  6. ^ Goforth, Allan (2003). Tales from the Missouri Tigers. Sports Publishing. p. 188. Retrieved March 23, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Rob Gronkowski sets TE yardage mark". ESPNBoston.com. January 1, 2012. Archived from the original on January 3, 2012. 
  8. ^ Hoffman, Ben (January 17, 2012). "Davis's Performance Recalls Winslow's 'Epic' Day". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 20, 2012. 
  9. ^ Chargers.com – News » Headlines » Chargers epic ’82 playoff win in Miami
  10. ^ a b Jaworski, Ron (2010). The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays. Random House. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-345-51795-1. 
  11. ^ Jaworski 2010, p.81.
  12. ^ "Ex-Chargers coach Don Coryell dies". Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  13. ^ Jaworski 2010, p.93
  14. ^ Jaworski 2010, pp.93–94
  15. ^ a b Jaworski 2010, p.112

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Debbie Brown
Ann Meyers Drysdale
Dale Kramer
Kenneth MacAfee
Warren Moon
Gifford Nielsen
Silver Anniversary Awards (NCAA)
Class of 2004
Trish Millines Dziko
Bruce Furniss
Virginia Gilder
Stacey Johnson
Gregory Kelser
Kellen Winslow
Succeeded by
Mark Johnson
Gary Lawrence
Paul McDonald
Greg Meredith
Joan Benoit Samuelson
Dave Stoldt