Garcia urges Winslow to join Browns
By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
August 4, 2004
BEREA, Ohio (AP) -- Jeff Garcia delivered his message to Kellen Winslow Jr. with the pinpoint accuracy of a tight spiral.
As the rookie tight end's contract holdout with the Cleveland Browns approached one week, Garcia said it's time Winslow Jr. reported for training camp.
``It's important to get him here,'' the Browns' new quarterback said. ``It's one of those things where you need to think about the team. You are going to get your riches no matter what, but you need to think about the team.
``This is a team game.''
Meanwhile, the Browns and agent Kevin Poston are as much as $15 million apart. Complicating matters in the negotiations are recent deals signed by other top picks, with two that included $20 million in guaranteed money.
Garcia decided it was time to add his two cents.
Following Wednesday's morning practice, Garcia said he planned to call Winslow and urge him to join his teammates.
``Think about what you have to experience in terms of creating a team atmosphere and a team bond,'' said Garcia, in his first season with Cleveland.
``It is not creating a really positive situation for him not being here in training camp because we are all out here sweating through it. It's important that he gets out here and joins in the mix with us,'' he said.
There's no telling when that might happen since it appears Winslow Jr. and the Browns are at an impasse in talks.
Winslow, the No. 6 pick, has missed 10 practices since July 30 when Poston rejected the Browns' initial offer -- a six-year, $40 million deal.
Although the Browns' offer to Winslow represents a 135-percent increase over the deal signed by last year's No. 6 pick, defensive tackle Jonathan Sullivan, it isn't enough for Kellen Winslow Sr.
The Hall of Famer has said publicly that he wants ``fair market value'' for his son. However, it's impossible to determine what that is because Poston isn't saying what he's after.
It's hard to predict what effect, if any, Garcia's plea will have on Winslow Jr.
At least one other Browns player said he wouldn't rush the former University of Miami star to sign.
``I can't tell him to get in here,'' said safety Earl Little, another ex-Hurricane. ``He has the best leverage he could have. He sees all these young kids getting all this money. He has to take his time.
``The more he can get, the better for him. I'm happy for him.''