Commentary | Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano continues to clean house by getting rid of Kellen Winslow Jr.

adell@bradenton.comMay 23, 2012 

If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers don't work out for him, Greg Schiano might have a career as our country's surgeon general.

We don't know if he can get the Bucs out of intensive care, but in his short stint as their head coach Schiano has eradicated some serious disorders.

He got rid of a huge cancer that was eating away at this franchise when he shipped Kellen Winslow Jr. out of town to Seattle late Monday night.

Let Pete Carroll deal with Winslow and his ego swamped in self-gratification. The love affair the tight end has with himself had eaten its way into the soul of the Bucs offense.

Winslow was the worst kind of cancer for a football team. He got inside the head of Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, and when you foul up the engine, everything grinds to a halt.

From the moment he officially became an ex-Buc, Winslow continued to show he is blinded by self-absorption, telling Sirius XM NFL Radio that Tampa Bay had gotten rid of him because he failed to attend an OTA (organized training activity) last week.

"You just don't get rid of one of your best players because of that," Winslow said.

Winslow's ego shielded him from reality.

He wasn't one of the Bucs' best players, and he didn't get a ticket out of town because he wasn't at an OTA. In Winslow you had a guy with a bum knee who didn't like to practice or block and demanded the ball. This is not the kind of guy you want around all those young, impressionable receivers.

The Bucs got a conditional seventh-round pick for Winslow, which is about his worth these days.

To his credit, Schiano is getting rid of all the bad pieces that made One Buc Place look like a carnival house last year. With Tanard Jackson shipped

out last month and Winslow gone, the franchise has a healthier look.

Using his surgically damaged knee as a convenient excuse, Winslow rarely partook in practice last year.

This might have been excusable if he had not demanded the ball on game day and let Freeman know he wasn't happy when the quarterback didn't accommodate his wishes.

It had a bad effect on the franchise quarterback. His lowest passer rating came when he threw to Winslow, and nine of his 22 interceptions came on attempted passes to the University of Miami product.

One of the most glaring examples of Winslow's self-centeredness came against the New Orleans Saints, when Freeman threw a touchdown pass to Preston Parker.

Before the play, Winslow had motioned to Freeman to get him the ball and openly displayed his displeasure by not participating in the post-touchdown celebration and then confronting Freeman in that infamous sideline soap opera caught on camera.

Winslow became an albatross around Freeman's neck, and it stunted his growth.

The quarterback disputes that Winslow had him like a puppet on a string, but video never lies. It showed too many games when Freeman tried to force passes into Winslow when the tight end was blanketed by defenders.

Freeman will be free to grow and mature and take care of the needs of the offense without having to worry about Winslow's selfish demands.

Winslow turns 29 in July, but in football years with his damaged knee that has undergone six surgeries, he is 30-something.

Winslow also led Bucs receivers in penalties with seven, was among the bottom in yards after catch by tight ends and was a disgruntled blocker.

The Bucs signed ex-Indianapolis Colt Dallas Clark. His best days are behind him and he might not have the athletic skills the Bucs covet, but he will fit nicely into Schiano's team-first philosophy. He also knows what it takes to win, which could be his best attribute.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7080, ext. 2112.

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