After five knee surgeries, Bucs' Winslow lives through the pain

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded second- and fifth-round draft picks to the Cleveland Browns for Kellen Winslow in 2009, they knew they were acquiring a high-motor, unique tight end -- but one with a history of knee problems.

Winslow, at times open with his opinions, has kept quiet about the pain of five surgeries to repair his battered right knee. The knee, he said, is feeling better than it has in years.

"Last year, I was hurting, but I know how to rehab my knee better," Winslow told the St. Petersburg Times following a workout in Tampa this week. "I feel good. I feel as ready as I can be right now."

Winslow took grief from Bucs fans in 2009 when he skipped voluntary offseason team activities after being acquired from the Browns. He said his knee just wasn't ready, so he chose to rehab in San Diego.

"That's kind of why I wasn't there," he said. "And when I was in Cleveland, well, it was just Cleveland. I would rather not be there and be at home training in the offseason."

Winslow has gone on record about his ire toward the Browns' organization, but he calls Tampa "the perfect place."

Winslow, who pulled in 66 passes in 2009 and 77 last season, is excited to see what next season will bring. He's managing knee pain with a muscle stimulation machine used by other NFL players, including Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney. Winslow told the Times that he used the machine incorrectly at stretches last season, which increased the pain.

"It was affecting my knee in a certain way. So that's kind of what was going on last year when I was hurting and why I wasn't practicing in training camp," Winslow said. "(Some asked) 'Why isn't Kellen practicing?' But I've learned how to use the machine better, so my knee feels better."

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