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Former Browns number one pick Kellen Winslow, Jr. pleads guilty

Unexpected guilty plea kept Winslow, Jr. from a possible life sentence 

2007 ESPY Awards - Arrivals Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images

Former Cleveland Browns first-round draft pick Kellen Winslow, Jr. pled guilty Monday in San Diego, Calif. to raping an unconscious 17-year old female in 2003, plus a guilty admission to sexual battery of a 54-year old homeless woman in 2018 as reported by USA Today.

Winslow, Jr. was facing six felony charges and reached a plea deal with prosecutors. Originally, he was charged with 12 offenses of which seven were felonies. If convicted of all counts he was facing life in prison. The plea deal was struck after the jury was already selected and were actually seated in the courtroom with testimony set to begin. The guilty plea deal came as a complete surprise to everyone involved in the case as it was expected to be a lengthy trial.

Winslow Jr.’s sentencing will be in February. It is estimated he will receive between 12-18 years total.

After the plea deal was confirmed, Winslow, Jr. told presiding judge Blaine Bowman:

“I pray to God that you give me 12, and I can go home to my family as soon as possible.”

His original charges spanned a wide array of time periods. He was charged with felonies of sexual assault on the same homeless woman twice as two counts of forcible rape, plus first-degree burglary, two counts of kidnapping with intent to commit rape, one count of forcible oral copulation, one count of forcible sodomy, one count of indecent exposure and two counts of residential burglary. In addition, he had misdemeanor charges of elder abuse, battery of an elderly person, and lewd conduct.

Present in the courtroom was Winslow, Jr.’s father who was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995. It was also reported that Senior had a confrontation with the prosecutor, Dan Owens, and told him loudly “Do not look over here” during the proceedings. A court bailiff was then summoned to which he removed Senior from the courtroom.

Tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. (Miami) smiles after he was selected sixth overall by the Cleveland Browns at the 2004 NFL Draft on April 24, 2004 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

In 2004, Winslow, Jr. was a highly-touted tight end out of the University of Miami and was the Browns number one draft pick to which he proclaimed he was “The Chosen One.”

His first two seasons in Cleveland was a wash as Winslow, Jr. broke his right fibula his rookie year and then had a motorcycle wreck that eliminated his entire sophomore season. He rebounded with his best season in 2007 where he gained 1,106 yards on 82 receptions, five TDs and made the Pro Bowl. The following year he dipped to 43 catches for 428 yards and a mere three TDs.

He was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a second and fifth-round draft pick and then signed a six-year $36 million contract. He led the Bucs in receiving for three seasons. Even though he was productive, the club felt his salary did not match his production and then was traded again, this time to the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks attempted to sign him for less money and when he declined, he was waived a week before the 2012 opening game. The New England Patriots picked him, but after one game he was released. The New York Jets signed him the following year, however, after playing in three games he was suspended for four game for violating the league’s PED program and later released after he was arrested for possession of synthetic marijuana.

After sitting out two seasons, he had a workout with the Green Bay Packers but was not signed. He later played in the developmental Spring League in 2017 and was invited back to the 2018 Spring League, but did not play.

Winslow, Jr. has reportedly made $43 million during his NFL career. The problem for him, is whatever is left over he won’t be spending anytime soon.