Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Stupidist Man in Sports

Kellen Winslow, Jr, the top TE selected in the 2004 draft by the Cleveland Browns was injured on Monday night when he crashed his motorcycle into a curb while riding it in a college parking lot. Winslow, Jr. was apparently thrown over the handle bars and according a polite Lt. at the scene, was "real evasive about what the injuries were". Gee, I wonder why. Could it be that riding a motorcycle was prohibited in the contract that Winslow signed last season after holding out? Now the Browns could (and should) force Winslow to repay the $4.4 million 'option' bonus he got this past March and he may have to forfeit the $2 million installment of his $6 million signing bonus that was to be paid prior to the start of the 2005 season. Talk about easy-come, easy-go. Consider also that Winslow played exactly two games last year before a season-ending leg injury cost him 14 games and eventually former-Browns coach Butch Davis his job.

In nature people are given very clear signals of when the "do not touch" rule applies. The rattle from a Diamondback, the quills of a porcupine or the fangs of an agitated doberman are all good examples. The professional athlete has his own warning signs and one is "whenever a college player gives himself a nickname, do not draft". While at school at the University of Miami, Winslow annoited himself "The Chosen One". What exactly Winslow has been chosen for is not immediately clear, but a long and fruitful NFL career does not seem to be the answer. Say what you will about NFL busts like Ryan Leaf, at least he got to keep his signing bonus.

Unfortunatley for Winslow he has the proverbial 'ten cent head' to go with a multi-million dollar body infused with enough football talent for three players. But these mysterious injuries may have lowered his body's value a lot closer to his head's. For starters neither Winslow nor the Browns are saying much. Bad sign one. What they are saying includes the words 'damage' and 'internal injuries'. Worse sign. Now the notion of the Browns getting a refund of their signing bonus is all over the news and most people seem to be of the opion that they are entitled. Strike three perhaps?

To really understand the level of stupidity that Winslow engaged in you have to appreciate that when professional athletes sign big contracts it is generally known that they must give up dangerous activities for the duration of that contract. No motorcycles, skydiving, flying of any aircraft termed "experimental" and no dating Courtney Love. Sorry, that's what $6.4 million buys these days. Stick with your Playstations, golf and Katie Holmes types. So KW2 skips that rule as one that just does not 'fly' with him. He goes out and purchases a Suzuki GSX-R750, the motorcycle equivalent to strapping a rocket on your back and lighting it up while on a skateboard. This is a big boy bike. Winslow was an admitted novice and apparently was 'learning' to ride in the parking lot when this machine (which can go from 0 to 100 in 9 seconds) hit a curb going 35 mph. 35 freaking miles per hour is fast. It turned a 6-4 250 lb man into a human missile. Now Winslow is spending the night...again...at the Cleveland clinic where his right knee and shoulder are a concern. Once swelling is reduced the doctors will determine if and when surgery are necessary.

Yes, a 21-year-old man makes mistakes. But the "Chosen One" has chosen his life's path and so far he is taking his incredible talents for granted and may have blown his chance at a glorious NFL career. Uncle Rico would strap an internet-purchased-electricity-spewing-time-machine to his nads for 1/2 the chance that Winslow had. But that's another story.

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