The former Mizzou football tight end recently was mentioned as one of the greatest tight ends ever to play in the NFL.
Last week, CBS released its all-time team to celebrate 150 years of college football.
This week, ESPN released an all-time team to celebrate 100 years of professional football.
Roger Wehrli made the list for CBS as an honorable mention cornerback. So it’s only fitting that Mizzou football’s other Pro Football Hall of Famer be mentioned on the other list.
Kellen Winslow made ESPN’s short list of greatest tight ends ever under the category “Start the argument with.” The former San Diego Charger was alongside John Mackey of the Baltimore Colts. Mike Ditka made the list under the category “Remember when?” while the top tight end in NFL history belongs to none other than Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez.
The article seems to suggest it was a toss-up between Gonzalez and Mackey, but Winslow was right behind the top two at No. 3. No other tight ends were mentioned. Ditka made the cut for players who played in the game’s “formative years.”
As for Winslow, he was two-time All-Big 8 and an All-American in 1978. Winslow, a St. Louis native, left Mizzou after his senior season in 1978 and was drafted by the Chargers in the first round with the No. 13 pick in 1979.
He was a five-time Pro Bowler, a four-time All-Pro (three first teams) and led the NFL in receptions twice. He held the record for most receiving yards in a season by a tight end with 1,290 yards for nearly 30 years.
Winslow caught 89 passes in 1980, the most ever by a tight end at that time. He followed that up with an 88-catch encore in 1981. He grabbed 88 receptions again in 1983 — all three of those seasons he eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving. He changed the game and perhaps paved the way for pass-catching tight ends.
The Hall of Famer ended his career with 541 receptions, 6,741 yards and 45 TDs.
Winslow did his most damage in one of the greatest playoff games in NFL history, labeled “The Epic in Miami.”
It’s also sort of known as the “Kellen Winslow Game.” Check the 2:20.0 mark on youtube:
Against the Miami Dolphins at the Miami Orange Bowl, he caught 13 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown, while also blocking a field goal in the waning seconds to push the game into overtime, which his Chargers would go on to win 41-38.
Winslow was a part of some great Chargers teams, but unfortunately never made it to the Super Bowl. They made it to the AFC Divisional Round twice and the AFC Championship game twice in his first four years but failed to make the playoffs in his final five seasons. Winslow called it a career after the 1987 season.
He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995. For his contributions to the Mizzou football team, Winslow was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002. He is one of the greatest Tigers ever, yes, and also one of the greatest tight ends ever.
It’s nice to see Winslow get mentioned as one of the greats. At a position where there is much debate among the greatest ever, sometimes Winslow gets lost. He definitely is one of the best ever, and probably is somewhere in the top 5, or top 3, in this case.
The debate is never-ending, but it’s a fun one to have. Check out the article that puts together one of, if not the greatest, starting lineup in NFL history.
Hats off to ESPN’s Jeff Legwold for putting together the story.