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Season over as Browns' Winslow needs more surgery

CLEVELAND (AP) - Five catches. Two games. Two surgeries. Hardly the numbers Kellen Winslow Jr. expected as a rookie.

Winslow will undergo another operation on his broken right leg on Wednesday, ending the tight end's first NFL season after just two games and dealing the Cleveland Browns another early-season blow.

The first-round draft pick, who broke his fibula in a Sept. 19 game at Dallas and had surgery two days later, will have ligaments stabilized during the latest procedure.

Team physician Anthony Miniaci will do the operation at the Cleveland Clinic.

"Our No. 1 concern is Kellen's health and his long-term contribution to the Cleveland Browns," coach Butch Davis said in a statement Tuesday. "We know he will approach his rehabilitation with the same determination that he shows on the football field and look forward to his return for the 2005 season."

Winslow fractured the outer bone in his lower leg while scrambling to recover an onside kick in the final seconds of the Browns' 19-12 loss to the Cowboys.

Last week, the No. 6 overall selection had screws and plates inserted to stabilize the fracture that was clean through the bone.

Following surgery, Davis reported that doctors found no ligament damage and said there was a good chance Winslow would be back in November.

But after evaluating Winslow, team doctors decided he required more surgery.

"Kellen needs a stabilization of his syndesmosis (a sprain of the high ankle ligaments) in order to prevent further laxity," head trainer Mike Colello said.

Not only will Winslow not play again for the Browns in 2004, but he stands to lose a $5.3 million one-time bonus. As part of the six-year, $40 million contract he signed in August, Winslow had to participate in 35 percent of Cleveland's plays this season to reach an incentive to trigger the bonus.

The announcement that Winslow needs more surgery is yet another blow to the battered Browns (1-2), who have lost eight starters to injury in the season's first three weeks.

In addition to Winslow, defensive end Courtney Brown and linebacker Ben Taylor are out for the year. Taylor was placed on injured reserve Tuesday after having a tendon in his chest reattached by Miniaci.

Although Winslow's first season as a pro was short, it was very eventful.

The Browns traded up one spot in the April draft to get the former Miami All-American. Winslow made an immediate impression in mini-camp, wowing Cleveland's veteran players and coaching staff with his skills.

At the advice of agents Kevin and Carl Poston, Winslow held out of training camp for a bigger contract before settling after a 12-day holdout.

Winslow didn't need long to make his presence felt.

Just a few days after arriving, the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder lowered his shoulder and leveled defensive back Roosevelt Williams during a non-contact drill. Williams called Winslow "unprofessional."

Later, he declined interview requests to local reporters for nearly three weeks before breaking his silence a few days before the season opener.

With Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis vowing to flatten him, Winslow, wearing No. 80 like his Hall of Fame father, caught four passes for 39 yards in his debut.

A week later, he was wide open several times but made just one catch for 11 yards before breaking his leg in a pileup with teammates as the Browns tried to rally.

Winslow's final play in a forgettable first season.

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