The Jets announced this afternoon they have signed veteran free agent tight end Kellen Winslow.
The signing comes after Winslow was invited to attend the team's full-squad minicamp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center as a tryout and participated in all three days of practices and meetings.
"Feels great to be a Jet!" Winslow tweeted this evening from his certified Twitter account. "I'm excited to help this team any way I can."
General manager John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan had no comment with the announcement but in the past few days they expressed their optimism with how the tryout was progressing.
"I see exactly what you see," Ryan told reporters Thursday morning before the camp's final practice. "That athleticism and his ability to catch the football, it certainly jumps out. I just see the kind of presence he has."
"We thought Kellen did a nice job given the fact that you get off a plane, you get into a meeting and a couple hours later you’re out on the field," Idzik said after that practice in the fieldhouse. "I think all things considered, he did a pretty good job."
Winslow was Cleveland's first-round selection, sixth overall, out of Miami in the 2004 NFL Draft. He has caught 438 passes for 4,848 yards (11.1-yard average) and 23 touchdowns combined in four seasons with the Browns, three with the Buccaneers, and one game last season with the Patriots.
Since 2006, when his pro career took off, Winslow ranks third among all NFL tight ends with 698 passes targeted for him, fourth with 433 receptions, fourth with 4,798 yards, and 14th with those 23 TD receptions. His signature season was 2007, when he had 82 receptions for 1,106 yards (13.5 average) and five TDs and was named to the AFC's Pro Bowl roster.
"Rex and I used to go at it when he was with the Ravens," Winslow recalled after his first practice with the Jets on Tuesday. "He’s an awesome coach, man, one of the best defensive coaches in the league. He’s awesome. He’s a good guy."
In fact, Winslow's first game as a pro was in Cleveland's '04 season opener at home against Baltimore, with Ryan as the Ravens' D-line coach at the time. He had four receptions for 39 yards in the Browns' 20-3 win. Then in six games against the Ravens with Ryan as defensive coordinator from 2006-08, each side gave as good as he got. Winslow had 28 catches for 391 yards (14.0 average), but the Ryan defenses held him without a touchdown catch.
Winslow, the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame TE Kellen Winslow, said this week that he has plenty of reps left in the league even though he'll turn 30 next month.
"I have years left," he said. "My last [full] year, 2011, I caught 75 balls. I’ve been productive. It’s just the NFL, that’s how it goes sometimes. You get cut, you get traded and you can’t do anything about it. It’s out of my control."
Winslow, who wore uniform number 49 during his tryout, now officially joins a Jets tight ends room that includes returning starter