The brilliant but injury-riddled pro football career of Kellen Winslow is over. Officially.
In separate press conferences Friday, the Chargers announced they had placed Winslow, 30, on the “reserve-retired” list. That news came just hours after Winslow announced he had reached a settlement with the club on his 1988 salary.
The Chargers had suspended Winslow in late August in a dispute over whether Winslow was healthy enough to play. Winslow said his knee had deteriorated to the point he could no longer get into or out of a three-point stance. But, he said, the Chargers still owed him the full amount of his guaranteed 1988 base salary of $795,000.
The Chargers insisted he was healthy enough to play. They reportedly offered him half of $795,000 if he would retire. He refused. They suspended him.
Neither Winslow nor the Chargers would divulge details of the settlement. Winslow said the final terms were the result of long negotiations between his attorney, Mark Mottaz, and George Spanos, the brother of Charger owner Alex Spanos.
Winslow has been critical of the Chargers since the suspension. And he didn’t stop Friday.
“Since 1984 this organization has lost a lot of community support,” he said. “The organization itself is not as involved in community affairs as it once was. That starts at the top. The owner doesn’t live here.”
The base of Alex Spanos’ real estate business interests is Stockton.
Winslow also said he had offered to be a liaison between the player personnel department and the players. “There is a big gap in that area,” he said. Winslow said the Chargers declined the offer.
Instead, Winslow has accepted a position as vice president with Nutrition Technologies Inc. in Carlsbad.
Steve Ortmayer, the Chargers’ director of football operations, said he was “aware” that Winslow was “disturbed” about the suspension. But he declined to respond to Winslow’s criticisms.
“The Chargers and the NFL are far better for Kellen Winslow having played the game,” he said.
In nine NFL seasons, Winslow caught 541 passes in the regular season for 6,741 yards and 45 touchdowns. He played in five Pro Bowls.
Charger Coach Al Saunders said Friday that Billy Ray Smith’s injured calf has healed enough to permit him to start at outside linebacker against the Broncos.