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Winslow, Sims-Walker look to help Jets' offense
Kellen Winslow Jr. was once considered one of the most gifted and promising tight ends in the NFL, showing some shades of his Hall of Fame father.
Knowing that was just a few years ago made it all the more strange for Winslow as he anxiously waited for his phone to ring with another NFL opportunity.
"It was hard, very hard," Winslow said Tuesday after his first practice in a tryout with the New York Jets. "It's a situation that I've never gone through. It's probably one of the hardest situations I've had to go through. You don't know what your future holds and this is my dream, and when it's taken away like that, it's hard."
Mike Sims-Walker knows the feeling. He was a rising star among the league's wide receivers with Jacksonville, but never reached expectations and found himself out of the league last year, uncertain if his NFL career was done before it ever really took off.
Now the two veterans are trying to revive their NFL careers while helping the Jets' offense during their three-day tryouts in minicamp.
"I'm not new at this," Sims-Walker said. "It's a different environment, but football is football, so I'm trying not to make it any harder than it is. ... They've just told me to be myself. They told me to not try to do anything outside of what I've been doing."
Winslow, who turns 30 next month, was a first-round draft pick of Cleveland in 2004, but made it through just two games before a broken right leg ended his rookie season. The following offseason, Winslow tore a knee ligament in a motorcycle accident that sidelined him that entire year. He vowed to come back, and had a career-high 89 catches in 2006 and made the Pro Bowl as an alternate the following year.
A staph infection cut short his 2008 season, but he was traded to Tampa Bay and bounced back with solid seasons of 77, 66 and 75 catches. The Buccaneers traded him to Seattle before last season, but he was waived in September after declining to reduce his salary. He signed with New England a few weeks later and played one game - before asking for his release.
The 28-year-old Sims-Walker last played for Jacksonville in 2011, and has 134 career catches for 1,798 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was a third-round draft pick of the Jaguars in 2008 and spent his first three seasons with them. He signed with St. Louis as a free agent in 2011, playing in four games before being released and then re-signed by Jacksonville. He played in two games for the Jaguars before being placed on injured reserve, and later released - and hasn't played in the NFL since.
Te'o talks mostly football in rare news conference
Manti Te'o is just one of the guys.
He's confident he can be a three-down linebacker in the NFL.
It takes some serious leverage to play against tight end Antonio Gates.
Being drafted by the San Diego Chargers has put the former Notre Dame star in a "perfect place" because of the support from those in the organization.
Oh, and Te'o and some friends "just chilled and had a good time" last month in Hollywood at a party hosted by Maxim magazine, which included Te'o's fake girlfriend on its list of the world's 100 hottest women.
Kept largely off limits since the draft by rookie head coach Mike McCoy, Te'o was allowed to speak with reporters for the first time in more than a month as the Chargers opened minicamp Tuesday.
Questions about football outnumbered the ones about the fallout from him being the target of a hoax involving a fake girlfriend.
Te'o said he's had no problem putting behind him the issues that dogged him since they surfaced in January.
"When we're out on the football field, everything else doesn't matter," he said. "Thankfully for me, I'm surrounded by a bunch of teammates who have really pushed me to be better. All they care about is that No. 50 is working his butt off. I'll take care of the work ethic part and for them, they just make sure that I'm going in the right direction. Personally, that hasn't been difficult at all.
"We have a saying in the defensive room: "Keep the main thing the main thing.' I'm here to play football. I'm here to be the best Charger I can be and I'm not going to let anything get in the way of that. We'll keep the main thing the main thing."
Chad Johnson lawyer seeks cut in 30-day jail term
The lawyer for former NFL star Chad Johnson says the backside pat Johnson gave him in court was not meant as disrespectful to a judge - and not enough to warrant 30 days in jail.
Attorney Adam Swickle asked Broward County Circuit Judge Kathleen McHugh on Tuesday to reconsider the sentence. Johnson had reached a deal for community service and counseling to resolve a probation violation.
The Pro Bowl player formerly known as Chad Ochocinco is on probation after pleading no contest to battery on his then-wife, reality TV star Evelyn Lozada.
McHugh seemed ready to approve the plea deal Monday until Johnson's backside pat caused laughter in the court. The judge then said she wouldn't sign off and tossed Johnson in jail.
A hearing is set for next Monday.