Browns trade Winslow to Bucs

Published 1:04 am Sunday, March 1, 2009

CLEVELAND —The spectacular moments were too few. The headaches, too many. Kellen Winslow’s five-year run with the Cleveland Browns, a succession of stops, starts and setbacks, is finally over.

Cleveland traded the talented and troublesome former Pro Bowl tight end to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday in exchange for draft picks new coach Eric Mangini can use to begin rebuilding the disappointing Browns following a calamitous 2008 season.

The Browns received a second-round pick this year and a fifth-round selection in 2010 for Winslow, whose stay in Cleveland was marked by brilliance, injuries and controversy.

Email newsletter signup

An All-American at Miami, where his infamous postgame ‘‘I’m a soldier’’ rant shaped outside opinion of him, Winslow missed most of his first two NFL seasons with injuries. He nearly killed himself in a motorcycle accident, but came back and showed flashes of fulfilling his Hall of Fame pedigree.

Winslow squabbled with Cleveland’s front office this past season. He was almost always hurt, but he almost always played.

Back in Florida, he’s ready for a new beginning.

‘‘Cleveland was great to me,’’ he said in Tampa. ‘‘I had a great time playing with Braylon Edwards, Brady Quinn. I’m going to miss those guys. But it’s also a new opportunity. I’ve played with some of the guys on this team — Jeff Faine, Antonio Bryant, Luke McCown. I’m as happy as can be. I’m healthy.’’

Winslow will be reunited in Tampa with Alfredo Roberts, his tights ends coach in Cleveland the past two seasons.

With the Browns, Winslow had 219 catches for 2,459 yards and 11 touchdowns. He matched Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome’s club record with 89 receptions in 2006 and made 82 in 2007, earning him a Pro Bowl spot. He played in 44 games, but he missed 36 because of injuries.

There had been speculation that Cleveland’s new management team of Mangini and general manager George Kokinis would deal Winslow for draft picks — the Browns only had four in the ’09 draft before the deal — so it was not completely surprising they cut ties with the 25-year-old in a blockbuster move on the first day of free agency.