BEREA, Ohio (June 16, 2006) -- Kellen Winslow looked much like the player the Cleveland Browns drafted when he took the field for the first time in nearly two years.
The long muscular frame, speed and soft hands all seem to be in tact after his long rehabilitation from a motorcycle accident. He even dunked over the crossbar after making a catch, drawing hoots and hollers from his teammates at minicamp.
It was only when the tight end left the field that the change in Winslow was noticeable.
"I've been working on being humble," said Winslow, who missed most of his first two seasons -- last year after being injured in a motorcycle accident. "It gave me time to think."
Winslow, who turns 23 next month, said he was stunned when he heard that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was injured riding his motorcycle.
"It didn't seem real at first," Winslow said. "I remember after I got in my accident, he was also riding a motorcycle. It's an unfortunate thing. My prayers and thoughts are with him."
Winslow hasn't contacted Roethlisberger but said he will when all the attention dies down.
While Roethlisberger has pledged to wear a helmet if he rides a motorcycle again, Winslow said he's through with motorcycles.
"No, I won't," he said plainly when asked if he would ride again.
Fiery and brash when he joined the Browns as their sixth overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft, Winslow has had plenty to help make him humble.
His rookie season ended when he broke his right leg in his second game. Then he flipped over the handlebars of his motorcycle on May 1, 2005, while doing tricks in a parking lot. He tore a knee ligament, forcing him to miss all of last season.
Winslow recalled the loneliness of his painful rehabilitation, which was complicated by a staph infection in his leg that set him back two months.
"A lot of long nights. I can't even really explain," he said. "A hard time seeing my teammates out there playing in the games while I'm at home with my leg up."
Winslow participated in all drills at minicamp, his right knee wrapped in a black sleeve.
He looked fluid running routes, moving laterally and appeared at ease catching passes from quarterback Charlie Frye. He took part in blocking drills with the other tight ends and seemed to move without hesitation.
Winslow estimated he's about 90 percent recovered physically and just a little rusty.
Browns coach Romeo Crennel though sees a lot of rust. He said Winslow still has the hands, size and speed that made him a top pick, but that the Browns won't know what he's capable of until he's in a game.
"He wants to prove that he is the type of player that the Browns thought he was going to be when they drafted him," Crennel said. "He wants to be the go-to guy. He wants to be a leader."
Winslow is excited not only to be back but to be playing alongside the Browns' new additions, including center LeCharles Bentley and wide receiver Joe Jurevicius.
"It's an upgrade with those fellas. We're going to be contenders now for the Super Bowl," said Winslow, showing a glimmer of his old cockiness.
Winslow has yet to catch a pass in a game from Frye or line up alongside Braylon Edwards, who is expected to miss some games while he recovers from a torn knee ligament. But Winslow envisions success when they finally get on the field together.
"We can do some special things out there. We've got big, tall physical receivers," he said. "We've just got to make it happen."