Eric Winston

Latest proCane Cuts & Signings

TommyStreeter
It was one of the busiest NFL proCane roster cut weekends of all-time. See below all the action.

WR LaRon Byrd was cut by the Dallas Cowboys who signed him this offseason, but was quickly picked up by the Cleveland Browns and placed on their active roster.

DB Brandon Harris was cut by the Texans, who drafted him out of Miami 3 years ago, but was also quickly picked up and added to the Titans active roster.

Practice Squad Signings: Stephen Morris: Jags, Tommy Streeter: Dolphins, Chase Ford: Vikings, Erik Swoope: Colts, Brandon Washington: Rams, Harland Gunn: Falcons, Micanor Regis: Panthers.

Cuts: Maurice Hagens: Falcons, Eric Winston: Seahawks, Richard Gordon: Chiefs, Asante Cleveland: 49ers, Tyler Horn: Titans, Jared Wheeler: Bills.


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Eric Winston released by Seattle Seahawks

EricWinstonChiefs
It isn't easy making the NFL's most talent-packed roster. Just ask Eric Winston.

The Seattle Seahawks released the veteran offensive tackle -- and NFLPA president -- on Saturday.

Winston, 30, lost his battle for the team's right tackle job to second-round pick Justin Britt, who is now on tap to replace the departed Breno Giacomini as Seattle's Week 1 starter.

Britt tore his ACL in 2012 but rebounded to post a strong season last autumn at Missouri. "He is the type of guy who is going to persevere and fight his way through stuff," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told Sports On Earth this month.

At 6-foot-6 and 325 pounds, Britt has outstanding size for the role, but his preseason was a mixed bag as the rookie allowed eight quarterback hurries -- second-most among his peers in August.

It's possible another team comes swooping in to grab Winston, but he struggled in 16 starts for the Arizona Cardinals last season and might be near the end.


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(nfl.com)
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Eric Winston slips right into line for Seahawks

EricWinstonChiefs
RENTON — Offensive tackle Eric Winston reported to the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday, put on his helmet and went to work.

More than most, Winston understands the importance of preseason preparation. And his methods seem to work, as he has started every game for the past seven seasons — an ongoing run of 112 consecutive NFL games.

“I’d like to think I put the work in, not just in the weight room, but the training room, staying flexible, staying healthy,” Winston said. “You’re inevitably going to get caught in a pile, and if you’re not flexible something’s going to pop. I’ve gotten into some precarious situations and (been) able to kind of shake it off and walk out of the pile in one piece. I do believe it’s not just luck.”

Winston also credited zone blocking systems, which tend to keep linemen moving in the same direction.

That’s the kind of blocking the Seahawks employ under offensive line coach Tom Cable. And that was one of several factors that led Winston to decide Seattle is the place to continue his career. But not the primary one.

“I wanted to go somewhere where I can win,” he said. “So when they called, I know they’re definitely capable of winning here, and winning big. It was exciting to think that maybe I’ll get to play in some games that I’ve never played in before.”

Winston joined the NFL in 2006 as a third-round pick of the Houston Texans. He moved to Kansas City in 2012 and then Arizona last season, where he got a couple of close looks at the Seahawks.

The Seahawks also did some looking and decided to bring him in to compete at right tackle, along with veteran Michael Bowie and rookie second-round draft pick Justin Britt.

“(We) like the fact that (Winston) has got background and experience,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We’re very young there in the backup guys. … We’d like to have another guy competing for the spot.”

Starting his ninth pro season, Winston, 30, said he’s ready to add mentoring to his job description.

“I think anytime that you become a vet in this league, you have an obligation to the young guys that come after you — to help them, to teach them and obviously to compete against them,” he said. “… If Britt wants me to do that, then I’ll do that, and if he doesn’t want to hear it, I won’t. But I’ll be here for him and always be here to help him, that’s for sure.”

That same attitude is one of Winston’s motivations as president of the NFL Players Association, a title he assumed in March and will continue despite his change of address.

“I’ve always been an advocate for the players and trying to help them out,” he said. “Make their lives a little bit better and make them understand what it means to be a pro.”


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(bellinghamjournal.com)
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Seahawks sign OT Eric Winston

EricWinston
NFL Players Association president Eric Winston has signed with the Seattle Seahawks.

Winston, a 30-year-old right tackle, signed a one-year contract, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, confirming multiple reports.

Winston tweeted out the news that he was joining the defending Super Bowl champions on Tuesday morning.




Winston played for the Arizona Cardinals last season. He was elected the NFLPA president earlier this year.



He said last week he didn't need to be promised a starting job but wanted the opportunity to compete for one. That's what Arizona offered last year, he said, and it worked out in his favor as Winston started all 16 games.

Winston, an eight-year veteran, has spent his offseason preparing for the right call by staying in shape. He worked out this summer with Texans receiver Andre Johnson and running back Arian Foster and former Texan Owen Daniels.

Breno Giacomini, who started at right tackle for the Seahawks last season, signed a free-agent deal with the Jets this offseason. Before Winston's addition, second-year offensive lineman Michael Bowie and rookie Justin Britt had been competing this offseason to fill the right tackle spot.

Winston played his first six NFL seasons with the Texans, joined the Chiefs in 2012 and the Cardinals last season. Winston has started 119 consecutive games, the second-longest streak for an active player. He also has played in 124 straight regular-season games, also second-most among active players.


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Eric Winston waits for call as camps start

EricWinstonChiefs
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A year ago to the day, Eric Winston was signed by the Arizona Cardinals as his future teammates prepared for their conditioning test.

This year, Winston is still waiting for that call. Well, more like the call.

He's been contacted and recruited by several teams since free agency began in March, Winston said Friday from Houston, but none have offered an attractive enough opportunity to convince Winston to sign.

"It's more of the right situation not presenting itself," Winston said.

"Last year, I thought Arizona was a good spot for me and I think going forward I'm looking for that same kind of opportunity."

Winston doesn't need to be promised a starting job, he said, but wants the opportunity to compete for one. That's what Arizona offered last year, he said, and it worked out in his favor as Winston started all 16 games. The eight-year veteran isn't concerning himself with why he hasn't found a job yet as training camps continue to begin across the NFL. He's just trying to stay positive.

Last offseason taught him to be patient but it's easier said than done.

"It's tough," Winston said. "It's tough on me. It's tough on the family. There's so many balls in the air right now. It's just a stressful time. But, unfortunately, sometimes when you get late in your career it's the nature of the business, as well."

Winston was able to acclimate himself with the rest of Arizona's offensive line quickly last season but he'd rather not wait until the end of training camp to join a team. There's still a playbook to learn and a bond to build, but there's only so much he can control.

The Cardinals are one team with questions at right tackle but Winston doesn't seem to be the answer for them. He made about $2 million last season and improved as the season went on. Even though Winston allowed just one of his seven sacks in the final nine games, he was still rated as one of the worst tackles in the NFL by Pro Football Focus.

Winston has spent his offseason preparing for the right call by staying in shape. He's worked out this summer with Houston Texans Andre Johnson and Arian Foster, and former Texan Owen Daniel. After a Friday morning workout, Winston said he's moving as well as he has in a while.

At 30, he's been putting in the extra work so he can make a seamless transition to anyone's training camp.

"I feel like I'm way more ready this year than last year," Winston said. "Not to say I wasn't ready last year. I just really feel like I'm in as good of shape than I've been in for a long time."


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(espn.com)
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Eric Winston An Impactful NFL Free Agents Still Available

EricWinstonChiefs
Offensive tackle Eric Winston, ex-Arizona Cardinal – Winston has become a well-traveled player, having spent six years with the Saints and one each with the Chiefs and Cardinals. He is not going to win a spot in the Pro Bowl, but he is a solid and functional tackle who should be able to man a spot on the right side.

At 6-foot-6 and 305 pounds, Winston is a strong man who understands blocking tackles and can handle power rushers. He may have some problems with the speed guys, but he has the stature and experience to get the job done for one or two seasons for any team looking for consistency and depth on the offensive line.

Look for Winston to sign shortly after any team suffers a serious offensive-line injury during the early part of training camp.


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(cbslocal.com)
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Eric Winston could still be option for Cardinals

EricWinstonChiefs
The Arizona Cardinals still could ink free-agent OT Eric Winston for another season, but a large part of that will depend on how OT Bobby Massie and Bradley Sowell fare in training camp.




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(kffl.com)
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Eric Winston ready to make visits

EricWinstonChiefs
Two of the last well-known veterans remaining on the free-agent market may soon have new NFL homes.

Right tackle Eric Winston and cornerback Drayton Florence are both expected to visit with interested teams next week, a source told FOX Sports 1. The suitors’ names are being kept confidential at their request, the source said.

Winston, 30, has started 119 consecutive games dating back to his 2006 rookie season with the Houston Texans. He was Arizona’s starting right tackle in 2013 and recently was elected NFL Players Association president.

Interest in quality NFL veterans such as Winston and Florence should pick up across the league once a June 1 deadline passes pertaining to compensatory draft selections.


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(foxsports.com)
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Ravens May Wait On Signing Eric Winston

EricWinstonChiefs
I thought the chances were higher before hearing general manager Ozzie Newsome after the draft ended. He talked about the importance of letting young players fail on the field. What he means is the Ravens need to find out whether their draft picks can play before replacing them with an experienced player. Based on this, it sounds like the Ravens are giving Rick Wagner, a fifth-round pick from a year ago, a chance to win the right tackle job. The risk, of course, is losing out on a veteran free agent like Eric Winston, who played under Kubiak for six seasons and is a fit for zone-blocking schemes. Another team could sign him if the Ravens choose to wait. But the Ravens likely won't sign another significant free agent until after June 1, so it won't count them a compensatory pick.


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(espn.com)
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Baltimore Ravens could sign Eric Winston

EricWinstonChiefs
The Baltimore Ravens had a productive draft, getting several players who could be long-term starters.

They did not, however, address one of their biggest needs, the right tackle position.

According to Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com, the Ravens could sign veteran tackle Eric Winston.

Newsome pointed to the Ravens’ in-house options at right tackle with Ricky Wagner (a fifth-round pick last year) and the potential of moving Kelechi Osemele over from left guard to tackle, where he played his rookie season.

“We’ll just shake things up and see how the best thing happens,” Newsome said. “[But] if the opportunity presents itself for us to acquire a player to play tackle if we need to, we’ll be able to do it.”

Newsome seemed to point towards the possibility of signing a veteran. One player pundits point to is Eric Winston, who is still a free agent. He played six seasons under new Ravens Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak in Houston. Winston is just 30 years old and hasn’t missed a start since 2007. He bounced between the Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals the past two years, however.

Winston was a third-round pick (66th-overall) of the Houston Texans in 2006 and played there until 2011. He joined the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012 and spent last season with the Arizona Cardinals.

Winston was elected President of the NFL Players Association in March.


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(fansided.com)
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Eric Winston: If Goodell wanted HGH testing as much as power, we’d have it

EricWinstonChiefs
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell discussed the issue of HGH testing recently, saying that the NFL Players Association was raising “issues that are completely unrelated” to testing that have kept it from being implemented and that the union “needs to sign off on it.”

At a meeting with reporters on Wednesday afternoon in Manhattan, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and NFLPA President Eric Winston had a different point of view. They both say that the league is standing in the way of implementation of testing as the sides are in agreement on everything outside of the league’s desire to avoid neutral arbitration in cases involving players adjudicated criminally or civilly of violations of the drug policy and those involving players disciplined because of evidence other than a positive test.

Winston said Goodell’s insistence on being the final voice of any disputes is the only remaining sticking point.

“If [Goodell] wanted HGH testing as bad as he wants to retain his power, then we would have had testing last year,” Winston said. “At the end of the day, that’s what this is about. He wants to hold all the cards. He wants to be the judge, jury and executioner. The players aren’t going to go for an un-American system like that and I’m not going to allow them to go for an un-American system like that.”

Both men pointed to the league’s handling of the bounty case involving the Saints as an example of why they believe neutral arbitration is so important and Smith cited baseball’s acceptance of the process that led to a neutral arbitrator’s ruling in the Alex Rodriguez case as an example of how arbitration can work in a professional sports league. Smith said the union has “tremendous resolve” on the issue, which suggests a resolution that leads to the implementation HGH testing will remain out of reach as long as the arbitrator issue is outstanding.


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(nbcsports.com)
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Ravens could look at RT Eric Winston after draft

EricWinstonChiefs
The Ravens could look at free agent RT Eric Winston if they don't select a right tackle early in the draft.

It's a logical fit that keeps coming up because Winston was Gary Kubiak's starting right tackle for five seasons in Houston. Kubiak is now Baltimore's offensive coordinator. The 30-year-old Winston would serve as competition for in-house candidate Ricky Wagner -- assuming they can't land a tackle like Notre Dame's Zack Martin or Michigan's Taylor Lewan at No. 17 overall.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Ravens not interested in Eric Winston

EricWinstonChiefs
Coach John Harbaugh confirmed the Ravens have not had any contract talks with free agent RT Eric Winston.

The Ravens have just Ricky Wagner as an in-house replacement for Michael Oher, but 30-year-old Winston wouldn't be much of an upgrade despite his ties to OC Gary Kubiak. ESPN's Jamison Hensley expects Baltimore to target a right tackle early in the draft.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Eric Winston wants to be signed soon, Cardinals with little interest for now

EricWinstonChiefs
Based on a recent interview that Winston had with Arizona Republic columnist and local radio host Dan Bickley, that train of thought isn't blind speculation.

Winston, who started all 16 games in 2013 for Arizona at right tackle and has also started 119 straight games, still is unsigned, and there appears to be little interest from the Cardinals at this point. "It doesn't seem like anything is being done," he told Bickley. "I'd still love to come back to Arizona. I love the guys in the locker room, love the city, and I think the team will be really good with or without me. They're ready to have a special run out there."

As I have written before, I think the Cardinals will have interest in him only if they don't see what they want out of Bobby Massie, Bradley Sowell, Nate Potter or whatever draft pick or undrafted rookie they bring in during offseason workouts, OTAs and mini-camps.

Winston didn't sign with the Cardinals until the beginning of training camp last year.

He doesn't want to wait that long, as he told Bickley that, despite how much he would like to return in 2014 to the Cards, he would like to be picked up by a team soon, "hopefully before the draft."

Many veterans would be content to sit tight and not have to go to OTAs or mini-camp. Winston doesn't seem eager to do that. Based on his performance last season, that actually might not be a bad idea.

Coming into a new offensive system, he struggled early, but improved later in the year.

Perhaps being with a team the entire offseason would mitigate those early struggles.

Unfortunately, there haven't even been any whisperings of interest.

That doesn't mean that he is done with football. It just means that he might have to wait until a spot opens up on some team because of injury or ineffectiveness.

Winston has a track record and a reputation in the league. He is well-respected. However, he is now going on three teams that were okay with moving on from him -- the Texans and Chiefs both having cut him the previous two offseasons. And there is something to be said about the Cardinals not wanting to bring back a player on the offensive line. Arizona historically has had bad lines. If they let a player go, that says something.

Chances are that he will land somewhere and will continue to add to his streak of starting games. He isn't the only veteran offensive lineman still available.
Will he have to just bide his time? Will he find work, and will he be a starter?


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(revengeofthebirds.com)
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Eric Winston would ‘love’ to re-sign with Arizona Cardinals, looking for deal before draft

EricWinstonChiefs
Arizona Cardinals free agent offensive tackle Eric Winston was named the new president of the NFLPA in mid-March after being elected to the position, and it’s a job he definitely deserves. The well-spoken right tackle has been a solid player in this league for quite some time, and the 30-year-old veteran is generally regarded as a very intelligent person. Winston is an excellent NFLPA president, and he hasn’t shied away from speaking his mind in the past, as Kansas City Chiefs fans all remember his tirade against those booing for Matt Cassel (his comments created some controversy).

Winston was signed by the Cardinals last offseason, and he’s received very limited interest this offseason after a surprisingly subpar 2013 season.

According to the Arizona Republic’s Dan Bickley, Winston stated that he prefers to stay with the Cardinals and is hoping to find a team before draft day, ”It doesn’t seem like anything is being done. I’d still love to come back to Arizona. I love the guys in the locker room, love the city, and I think the team will be really good with or without me. They’re ready to have a special run out there.

“At the same time, it is what it is. I’m looking to get on a team as soon as possible, hopefully before the draft.”

It will be interesting to see if Winston gets his wish, but I wouldn’t bet on it at this point. I would be shocked if there aren’t a few teams with interest, but he isn’t exactly a hot commodity right now in late March. He’ll likely get a modest, one-year deal with some incentives, and he should bounce back and be a quality starter in 2014. But will the Cardinals keep him around? I don’t see that happening after the Jared Veldheer signing, as the Cards aren’t going to give up on Bobby Massie at RT, especially after he outplayed Winston last year.


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(nflspinzone.com)
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Eric Winston: An 18 Game Season Would Be A Disservice To Players

EricWinstonChiefs
Houston (CBS HOUSTON) - The new NFLPA President Eric Winston joined In The Loop with Nick & Lopez on SportsRadio610 on Thursday to talk about expanding the playoffs and expanding the regular season in the NFL.

Winston first addressed his comments from an interview on Wednesday with The Triple Threat, Sean Pendergast, Rich Lord and Ted Johnson on the SportsRadio 610, where he said:

“I’m a big fan of radically changing a lot of the playoffs.  Take Green Bay for example. This year hosting a 12-4 San Francisco 49ers team when I think Green Bay was 9-7 or 8-8. I don’t agree with that. I’d like them to not only add a game, I’d like to see them actually take a hard look here and say ‘what are we really doing here, what are we really rewarding?”

Winston emphasized that the Playersicon1 Association hasn’t seen any proposals from the NFL on expanding the playoffs and thus the Players Association can not say they are for or against it.

“We’d look at proposals, we’d look at ideas for it,” Winston said. “As far as being for or against it, nothing has come down on that yet.  I think it will be interesting to see what exactly their proposals are.”

“How they want to compensate. What kind of ideas they have.  How many more games is it really. Those kind of things I think need to be explored.  I think guys are open to listen to it.  I think anytime you can add some excitement in there  and your possibly seeing another team maybe have a chance to winicon1 the Super Bowl I think it’s something worth looking at.”

“We’ll have to see what [The NFL] actually have to say.  Up to now it’s just been a lot of rumors and what we think might happen.”

The expansion of playoffs is something that the NFLPA would be willing to discuss, but the addition of two games to the regular season to 18 is what Winston had described as a “non-starter” for the NFLPA.

“I don’t think that it’s a revolutionary statement by me,” Winston said of the ‘non-starter’ comment on an expanded 18 game season. “It’s been the stance of our Players Association for a long time.  I don’t think that is going to change.  It’s a healthlb_icon1 and safety issue and we’re not going to bargain on that.”

Winston believes that there really isn’t anything the league could do to make the idea of an 18 game season a viable option for the players.

“During the [CBA] negotiations there were all kinds of proposals,” Winston said. “There were proposals with 18 games in it.  There were proposals with 16 games in it.  There were proposals with everything.  And there were never any proposals that even broached the subject of use even seriously talking about it.”

Money shouldn’t even be a factor for the players when it comes to  an 18 game season, because there is no large financial gain that 18 games would bring.

“All of our benefits are tied to season long,” Winston said. “Your pension, you get your pension at three years and two games, active. You get 401Ks, for every season you play you get a match plus double.  So you know there’s formulas for everything.  The longer you play the less benefits you are going to reach.  So just saying ‘Hey, yeah I got an extra hundred grand in my pocket’ that is a very short sided view in my opinion.”

“And that’s just talking about benefits and money.  We’re not talking about health and safety. We’re not talking about the effects on guys long term and their healthcare after playing extra games.  You tie 18 games now over five years; now you’re running into almost an extra season. You can’t just look at it, to me, financially. You can’t look at it in the short term.  Oh if I get an extra couple bucks here maybe it will be worth it because,  I think in that case you’re doing yourself a disservice, I think we’re doing all the players a disservice.”

Eric Winston is currently a free agent, but has played eight seasons in the NFL with three teams, most recently with the Arizona Cardinals.


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(houston.cbslocal.com)
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Eric Winston staying patient during free agency

EricWinstonChiefs
TEMPE, Ariz. -- This offseason is starting off eerily similar to the last for Eric Winston.

The former Arizona Cardinals right tackle is patiently waiting for the right team to call with a job offer, one too good for him to turn down. A few teams -- Winston wouldn't say which ones -- have already came calling, but after eight seasons, he’s being selective.

At least this year, he knows what to expect. After the Kansas City Chiefs didn’t opt to re-sign him following the 2012 season, Winston entered free agency not knowing where he’d play in 2013. The Cardinals signed him on July 25, 2013, the first day of training camp. He instantly moved into a starting role and gave up just seven sacks in 16 games.

Winston was expected to be a priority for the Cardinals after the team figured out what to do with Karlos Dansby, but as of Wednesday, the team had still not re-signed Winston.

Armed with the experience from last offseason, Winston is keeping busy with his children and wife, waiting for the phone to buzz with good news from his next team.

"I’m doing fine," Winston said. “Last year it was frustrating, going on a lot of visits and not signing until camp. Now I kinda know the situation. I know that at some point there’s going to be a team that’s going to need a tackle and at that time I’ll be available to play and ready to go.”


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(espn.com)
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Eric Winston elected president of NFL Players Association

EricWinstonChiefs
ORLANDO – Veteran tackle Eric Winston became the NFL Players Association's newest president Wednesday, elected by the board of representatives over New Orleans Saints tight end Ben Watson and free-agent safety Ryan Clark.

"Things are going to come up. We're going to have fights," Winston, who is a free agent, told USA TODAY Sports. "And (the job is) to continue to carry that torch to the next person, whoever that may be. I've got to leave this union better than I found it."

Winston, 30, has played in 124 games (119 starts) over eight NFL seasons with the Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals. He has been active with the union since 2010 and most recently served on the committee that regulates and disciplines agents.

He succeeds former NFL cornerback Domonique Foxworth, who wasn't eligible to run for a second two-year term because he wasn't on an NFL roster last season.

The board also elected seven new vice presidents to fill out the executive committee – the largest player leadership turnover the union has had. Joining holdovers Watson, Matt Hasselbeck and Brian Waters are Clark, Jay Feely, Scott Wells, Adam Vinatieri, Zak DeOssie, Lorenzo Alexander and Mark Herzlich.

"We're coming from a time of great leadership, taking us through such tumultuous time with the lockout, the new CBA," Watson said. "The guys that have been elected now: they come right behind some of these great leaders that we've had, but they're definitely ready for the challenge."

The executive committee, led by the president, have a variety of duties that include enforcing the selection bylaws in the event of a challenge to the executive director job. DeMaurice Smith is expected to have at least one challenger when he's up for re-election in March 2015.

Executive officers are elected to two-year terms in even-numbered years by the board of player representatives. Any player who has been a member in good standing for one year is eligible.


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(usatoday.com)
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Eric Winston: Miami Dolphins' locker room an 'outlier'

EricWinstonChiefs
After the world gasped at the grotesque way some members of the Miami Dolphins treated one another in the locker room, NFL players began reaching out to tell fans that those actions were isolated, not pervasive.

Offensive tackle Eric Winston has spent eight seasons in NFL locker rooms -- six with the Houston Texans and one with the Kansas City Chiefs before joining the Arizona Cardinals in 2013. The 30-year-old told NFL Network's "NFL AM" on Wednesday that he believes most locker rooms are good places to work.

"Not every locker room is like the Dolphins, that is a very big minority part of the NFL," he said. "Most locker rooms are fun to be in, are accepting of everybody, are good with young players. There are always going to be the jokes, the getting the rookies to go buy breakfast on Saturday morning, getting the rookies to dress up on Halloween, things like that. But (Miami) is just such an outlier -- so to speak -- of what really goes on in an NFL locker room."

Winston said that the light of shame needs to be shone on the Dolphins' locker room, not NFL teams in general.

"So I think the sense that 'Oh, everything needs to change, things need to change,'" he said. "Well Miami's locker room needs to change, not everybody else's. Everybody else has been doing the right thing for a long time."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly spoke to more than 30 players in the past two months to get their opinions on how to improve the working conditions in NFL locker rooms. 

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant, writing for TheMMQB.com, echoed Winston's thought that most locker rooms aren't like the one in Miami. However, Avant believes the NFL still can improve the work experience.

"As for the new legislation I mentioned earlier, maybe it's harsher fines for players, or a code of conduct, or more supervision," Avant wrote. "I'm not quite sure what it will be, but I do know something is necessary ...

"With proper structure in place, the NFL can be a support system for someone in the same situation Jonathan Martin was in, and also provide a helping hand to those who hazed him. We can educate young men on the merits of tolerance, and also the value of holding ourselves to higher standards. It can help mold us into productive members of society when we leave this league. Aren't those the values we want for our kids?"


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(nfl.com)
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What happened to Eric Winston in 2013?

EricWinstonChiefs
It took a few days, but I finally got around to the reader request about Eric Winston, who was the team's starting right tackle in 2013. Arizona Cardinals fans know that Winston is well thought of around the league, but he did not do well. Yes, he was the starter and was never in danger of losing it, but he was not the same player he was in previous years as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans.

The question was basically this -- what happened to Winston?

I was intrigued enough to go back and look at some numbers.

The first thing I asked was if injury could have had something to do with his decline in performance. It did not. In fact, he has set the gold standard of durability. He has started every single game since 2007. He hasn't even shown up on an injury report since 2011.

Since injuries did not have anything to do with what happened in 2013.

From there, the next thing to consider was if there has been a decline in play over time. I used Pro Football Focus grades and metrics for this. We will go back to 2008. He was in Houston then, where he played through 2011. He played as a member of the Chiefs in 2012 and then in Arizona in 2013.

2008:
PFF says he allowed nine sacks and 35 other pressures in the passing game. He received a cumulative +3.7 grade for pass blocking and +4.1 for run blocking. The Texans averaged 5.2 YPC over right guard, 5.4 YPC over right tackle and 2.3 YPC over right end.

2009:
Winston gave up five sacks and 26 other pressures. His pass blocking grade skyrocketed to a +15.0, but his run blocking grade dipped to -0.5. The Houston running game averaged 3.5 YPC over right guard, 3.7 over right tackle and 4.2 YPC over right end.

2010:
Winston had a strong showing again in Houston. He allowed eight sacks, but only 22 other pressures. His pass blocking grade was +11.8 and his run blocking grade was +6.1. Houston averaged 4.2 YPC over right guard, 6.1 over right tackle and 2.5 over right end in the running game.

2011:
In his final season with the Texans, the numbers were still good. He gave up seven sacks and 25 other pressures. His grades were +14.0 for pass blocking and +8.9 in run blocking. The ran the ball consistently on the right side -- 5.5 YPC over right guard, 5.0 over right tackle and 4.6 over right end.

2012:
Now a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, he still has a solid season. He allowed four sacks and 31 other pressures. His grades were +8.0 and +8.8 in pass and run blocking. The Chiefs averaged 4.3 YPC over right guard, 5.1 over right tackle and 5.4 over right end.

This brings us to his one year (so far) in Arizona. He did not get signed right away. In fact, it wasn't until training camp began that he joined Arizona. The numbers say he struggled.

2013:
His sacks allowed were no worse than previous seasons, but he gave up a ton of pressures. He allowed seven sacks, but with 51 other pressures, The Cards averaged 3.7 YPC over right guard, 3.7 YPC over right tackle and 4.6 YPC over right end. His grades were terrible from PFF -- a -7.1 in pass blocking and a -8.4 in run blocking. The Cards averaged 3.7 TPC over right guard, 3.7 over right tackle and 4.6 over right end.

What changed?
If it wasn't injury and there was no steady decline, we can perhaps look at two areas. One, it could be that Winston simply is seeing the end of his career. The other would be offensive schemes. In the Bruce Arians offense, there are longer developing plays.

At age 30, it does not seem like his age would be a huge factor.

It must mean that his skills have simply diminished, right?

I'm not totally sold on that. You typically don't see a decline like that at age 30 unless injuries are involved. But maybe it is the case.

There is some evidence to support the idea that Winston perhaps struggled because of being in a different system. His final two games in 2013 were his best. He did not allow a sack in his final six games. He allowed only seven other pressures in his final four games. He had positive grades for the final two games.

Will he return in 2014? That we don't know. With the Arians coaching staff allegedly not being really high on Bobby Massie, they might try to bring him back. My guess is that a second year in Arizona would bring better results.

Based on the numbers above, what would you say the reason was for Winston's struggles? Do you think he will be back? Would he see a return to the average in 2014? Discuss it below.


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(revengeofthebirds.com)
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Eric Winston: Time to bring 'lunch pail back to work'

EricWinstonChiefs
Offensive line woes hurt the Arizona Cardinals again in their Thursday night 34-22 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Quarterback Carson Palmer was sacked a season-high seven times and was consistently under pressure.

"We did not play very well in this ball game and that's a very good front, but we did not play as well as we've been playing," head coach Bruce Arians said. "Bradley (Sowell) struggled, obviously, with his pressures. Paul (Fanaika) struggled with pressure. Eric (Winston) struggled. The only guy that played really well up front was Lyle (Sendlein)."

Winston, the right tackle, acknowledged his unit's lackluster performance and said the only thing they can do is to work on it in practice.

"When you're in tough situations, it's time to bring your lunch pail back to work and keep working," Winston said. "There's nothing else you can do, there's no other way to go about it. We just got to keep continuing to work hard, we've got to continue to keep trusting what the coaches are telling us, what they're coaching us to do and keep striving for that."

In 2012, the Cardinals allowed 58 sacks, the most allowed in the NFL by a significant margin. The team expected to improve in that area heading into this season, and even more so after trading left tackle Levi Brown after Week Four, but Palmer has already been taken down 20 times.

Winston said the offensive line deserves criticism for their performance, but it still takes the whole team to keep the quarterback upright.

"I've always said protection is an 11-man effort, just like running the ball is," Winston said. "Everyone's got to do their job.

"It's continuing to be an 11-man effort, we're going to take the brunt of it up front because we should and we've got to play better up front."

The first step, according to Winston, is just giving Palmer more time to make plays in the pocket.

"We've got to create a more clean pocket, more of the time, for him, where he can step up and really make some throws," Winston said. "I think for us, we've got to start striving towards that and I think if we strive towards that, the sacks will also come down because he'll be able to get rid of the ball faster."

Arians said the team will give backup linemen Bobby Massie and Earl Watford more of a look in the coming weeks as they try to find a fix to the problem that's been plaguing Arizona.


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(arizonasports.com)
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Eric Winston: Suh 'loses benefit of doubt'

EricWinston
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Apparently an elbow swing by Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh during the Arizona-Detroit game Sept. 15 slipped by everyone except Cardinals right tackle Eric Winston, who was the intended target.

A video posted at ProFootballTalk.com on Saturday clearly shows Suh throwing his right elbow at Winston's head after the play had passed the line of scrimmage. A flag was not thrown and the league office has not made any public comments about the play.

Winston downplayed the incident when asked about it Monday.

"Things happen out there," he said. "I was moving him pretty good. He was trying to get off me. I don't know if it was intentional or not. I doubt it. But I think with that guy, obviously he's probably lost the benefit of the doubt with a lot of people."

The video shows Winston, who wears No. 73, beginning the play by double-teaming Suh with right guard Paul Fanaika, who eventually peels away. Winston is left one-on-one with Suh and does a good job of keeping him out of the backfield and away from the ball carrier, running back Rashard Mendenhall. Winston appears to lose his balance after Mendenhall runs by and falls to the ground, but instead of just letting go of Winston, Suh appears to try to land an elbow to Winston's head.

"If he swings like that and hits me across the shoulder like that, it's fine," Winston said. "I'm not going to go off and say he was purposely taking a swing at my head. I think he was probably just trying to flail and get off the block.

"It's not the first time it's ever happened to me and not gotten called or not said anything and probably won't be the last. It's the way it goes," he continued. "I just move down the road."

Suh, whose appeal of a $100,000 fine for a low block on Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle John Sullivan was to be heard Tuesday, has not addressed the incident with Winston. The defensive tackle is scheduled for media availability Wednesday.

No decision was expected Tuesday in Suh's appeal, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder. Suh is arguing that his hit was legal and that other players have committed more egregious fouls without being suspended or fined a similar amount.

The appeal is being heard by former Vikings and Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk -- who rescinded the one-game suspension of Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson last week while imposing a $100,000 fine.


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(espn.com)
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VIDEO: Ndamukong Suh takes swing at Cardinals' Eric Winston



Ndamukong Suh has taken heat this season following his low-block of John Sullivan and the NFL record fine that ensued.

But that apparently hasn't tempered his aggressive style of play.

ProFootballTalk.com found video of the Detroit Lions defensive tackle delivering a blow to Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Eric Winston.

The play in question occurs with around 9:30 remaining in the third quarter of last week's loss in Arizona. Quarterback Carson Palmer handed off to tailback Rashard Mendenhall, who cut right through the hole.

As he passed the line of scrimmage, Suh delivered the hook to the back of Winston's head.

This type of play occurs regularly, but they have a way of hitting the news cycle when they involve Suh because of his past sins. He's been fined six times in his career for questionable on-field plays, as well as suspended once.

Those fines have progressively escalated, peaking last week to a record $100,000 for the blow to Sullivan. The NFL was sending a message it won't tolerate Suh's questionable hits much longer.

But that threat doesn't appear to be slowing Suh much.


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(mlive.com)
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Outside the huddle with Arizona Cardinals' Eric Winston

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Eric Winston has toolbox for Arizona Cardinals’ O-line

EricWinstonChiefs
Every NFL team needs a Mr. Fix-it. He’s the new player you plug in to help strengthen a particular position or unit, the guy who’s been there, done that, and also has the personality to thrive in any locker room.

The Cardinals might have found their Mr. Fix-it in right tackle Eric Winston, the eight-year veteran who has started 105 consecutive games since his rookie season.

Signed two days before the start of training campicon1 after failing to find big money on the free-agent market, Winston has stepped in and quickly provided stability to an offensive line that has had more than its share of critics.

Not only does he bring experience, toughness, and a passion for the game, he’s a colorful character who was immediately embraced and respected by his teammates.

“We’re happy he’s here,” starting center Lyle Sendlein said. “He’s come in and stepped up big for us right away. He’s got a great sense of humor and he’s fun to be around, but he’s pretty blunt sometimes.”

“Oh, yeah,” agreed rookie guard Jonathan Coopericon1. “He’s very vocal and has a huge stature. But he’s very opinionated and he’ll let you know what he thinks very quickly.”

Remind Winston that the Cardinals allowed the most sacks in the league last season (58) and the second-most each of the previous two years (54 and 56), and he’ll tell you exactly what he thinks about that, too.

It means absolutely nothing, according to Mr. Fix-it, and he should know.

The Houston Texans allowed an NFL-high 68 sacks in 2005. The next year, they drafted Winston in the third round out of Miami, plugged him in at starting right tackle halfway through the season, and cut their sacks-against total to 43.

It went down each of his next five years there, helping Houston’s offense finish in the top four in the NFL for three consecutive seasons (2009-11).

“We’re in a new system with a new coach and a lot of other brand new stuff,” Winston said, “so as far as I’m concerned ... we haven’t given up any sacks as a unit. We’re looking to keep it that way, too.”

Coach Bruce Arians hasn’t made anything official when it comes to his starters on the offensive line, though it is assumed Winston and Levin Brown will be the tackles, and Cooper and Daryn Colledge will man the guard spots next to Sendlein.

Those five are building chemistry on and off the field, and it’s essential given Arians’ love for the passing game.

“I don’t think it’s any secret. Everywhere B.A. has been, he’s looking to sling the ball,” Winston said. “Look at the Colts last year. Look at the Steelers with Ben Roethlisberger. He wants to get the ball down the field.”

One of the best ways to do that, though, is by establishing the threat of a running game. That way, they can use a passing attack through play action.

“It’s much easier to protect on play-action passes than it is sitting back and sitting back and trying to keep those poor daddies on the outside from getting to the quarterback,” Winston said.

Winston’s helped block for running backs that have produced a combined four 1,000-yard seasons in the NFL. Last season, his only year with the Kansas City Chiefs, his team led the AFC in rushing with 149.7 yards per game.

Run blocking may be his strength, but Winston has more than held his own in pass protection, Arians said. And that’s good, because competition still exists across the line.

“It happens every year,” Winston said.

“A guy is working with the threes (third string), and all of a sudden he’s making a bunch of plays and now he’s with the twos and he’s battling for a spot. Somebody’s going to step up, play well, finish plays down field, make blocks and they’re going to get a chance. You just hope it’s you.”


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(azcentral.com)
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Eric Winston looks to keep proving himself

EricWinstonChiefs
Eric Winston's goal was always to start.

"I've never signed up, in any sport, to be a backup and ride the bench and be happy about not playing," he told Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo Wednesday. "That's just always been me.

"When I came here I was looking to win the job. Not be given the job; but I was looking to win the job."

As of now, it would appear he's done just that. The former Houston Texan and Kansas City Chief is listed as the starting right tackle on the team's initial depth chart, and he's been getting practice reps with the first team in training camp.

That said, Winston said he knows enough about how the NFL works to understand that just because he's the starter one day does not mean he will be the next, so he has to continue to practice well and then transfer that into games.

"You're always as good as the last thing you put on tape, so if I go to Green Bay and not play well, it probably opens the door for other guys," he said. "So I've got to consistently stack good practices together and stack good games together."

Winston added that the mentality is one he's carried with him his entire career.

"No matter how much money you're making, you've got to go out there and prove to your teammates and prove to everybody else that you're worthy of your spot, you're worthy of the place on your team and you have to go out there and do it."


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(arizonasports.com)
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Cardinals Sign Eric Winston

EricWinston
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- The Arizona Cardinals concluded their first day of training camp with a flurry of personnel moves, led by the announcement that rookie wide receiver Ryan Swope is retiring because of concussion issues.

The team added two experienced players, agreeing to a one-year deal with offensive tackle Eric Winston and a two-year contract with outside linebacker John Abraham. The Cardinals also released outside linebacker O'Brien Schofield, a former starter, and signed linebacker Kenny Rowe.

Winston, a starter in all six of his NFL seasons, signed a one-year deal after failing to find a better offer. He says he knows he has to compete but expects to win the right tackle job. Abraham is a 14-year NFL veteran and the league's active sacks leader with 122.

Winston said he understands he will be competing for playing time but he expects to be a starter.

''I think it's kind of a perfect storm for me in the sense that I could come in and compete for a spot and maybe be the guy at right tackle,'' he said, ''and I feel I will be.''

Winston also talked about joining the Cardinals in a tweet to Arizona kicker Jay Feely. Winston started all 16 games for Kansas City last season but, when the team underwent a change at head coach and general manager, was released in March. He played just one season for the Chiefs after playing the first five years of his NFL career with Houston.

Winston, who has started every game of his NFL career, had to settle for a one-year deal after failing to land a better offer.

He said he hopes to show the Cardinals he deserves a longer-term contract down the road.

Before Winston's arrival, the Cardinals had gone with second-year pro Bobby Massie at right tackle and Levi Brown, coming back after missing all of last season with a torn triceps,, on the left side, although Massie worked some at left tackle late in offseason workouts. Nate Potter eventually became the starter at left tackle as a rookie last season and has practiced at both tackle spots in the offseason.

Because the acquisition of Winston had not been announced officially, new coach Bruce Arians wouldn't talk much about the big tackle when he met with reporters after the players reported to camp and went through a brief run at University of Phoenix Stadium. He wouldn't say that dissatisfaction with the tackles he had led to the team seeking another player.

''It's just a matter of if there's somebody out there to make our football team better, that's our job to go get them,'' Arians said. ''The more competition the better.''
The same could be said of Abraham, who although in the latter stages of his career, still could fill a role as a situational edge pass rusher, something Schofield had struggled with in his time on the job.


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(sports.yahoo.com)
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Eric Winston, Cards close to deal

EricWinstonChiefs
Former Kansas City Chiefs tackle Eric Winston is close to signing a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The deal could be completed within the next 24 hours.

Winston, 29, started all 16 games at right tackle for the Chiefs last season, his only campaign in Kansas City. Expected to earn a base salary of just under $5 million in 2013, he was released in early March.

Winston made headlines in early December last season when he spoke out against home fans who cheered when quarterback Matt Cassel suffered a concussion in a game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Winston spent his first five seasons with the Houston Texans before signing with the Chiefs.


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(espn.com)
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Eric Winston Receiving Serious Interest

EricWinstonChiefs
Free agent offensive tackle Eric Winston, who has 103 career starts and hasn’t missed a game in six years, is getting some solid sniffs as teams prepare to go to camp. It’s been surprising that Winston, who was linked to a few teams in the offseason, remains unsigned. Money obviously is a factor, but there are several clubs with right tackle needs.


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(nationalfootballpost.com)
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Eric Winston a fit for the Falcons?

EricWinstonChiefs
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggests free agent RT Eric Winston as a fit for the Falcons.

Winston is battling a sharply deflated right tackle market, so perhaps he'll be willing to lower his contract demands soon. He's 30 years old and has been released in each of the last two offseasons. If the Falcons can get Matt Ryan a new contract and free up a little space, adding Winston would make some sense. Unproven incumbents Mike Johnson and Lamar Holmes are set to battle for the starting right tackle job in camp.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Detroit Lions are best fit for tackle Eric Winston

EricWinstonChiefs
Given his apparent price tag, Winston may be perfectly content to wait for a team to suffer a catastrophic injury or realize that it has a performance issue at right tackle. Chances are, he'll have some choices by early August if he's still unsigned. Best fit: Lions




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(freep.com)
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Jacksonville Jaguars Still Interested in Eric Winston

EricWinston
The Jacksonville Jaguars were tied for the worst team in the NFL last season, which means they needed a major overhaul this summer after years of decline. Despite their draft picks and free agency signings so far, they’re not done with a number of positions, including offensive tackle, with Eric Winston and Winston Justice waiting for a call.

The Jags used their number 2 draft pick on Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M to become the centerpiece of their offensive line in the future, and got Johnathan Cyprien, a Safety out of FIU as their number two pick. They’ve also added nine players since March through free agency, including wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi and cornerback Marcus Trufant.

But they’re still looking for another offensive tackle, especially looking at Eric Winston and Winston Justice, two players who have been mentioned as candidates for a number of teams so far, but haven’t been able to agree on anything, although both of them, each one in his separate time, seemed to be on his way to joining the Dallas Cowboys.

Another interesting addition for the Jags might be bringing back Daryl Smith, who has played for the team his entire career (since 2004), playing as an outside linebacker in the 4-3 system. Smith hasn’t been able to find work with anyone else, partially hoping he’d get a call back from the Jaguars, even if its for reduced money.

Another position the Jags are still looking to fill is at Tight End. While there isn’t anyone who can bring them too much to the table, veterans like Kellen Winslow, Dallas Clark, Todd Heap and Visanthe Shiancoe, who didn’t even play for anyone last season, are still available, and looking for a team in 2013.


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(sportige.com)
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Redskins passed on Eric Winston due to price

EricWinstonChiefs
The Redskins haven't made an effort to sign free agent RT Eric Winston this offseason.

Winston has been linked to the 'Skins in each of the last two offseasons because he played for Kyle Shanahan in Houston. Now Shanahan is running the same blocking scheme in Washington. The Washington Post says that Winston's price tag seems to have a lot to do with their lack of interest right now.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Eric Winston scheduled to work out for Miami Dolphins Today

EricWinston
With a trade for Kansas City Chiefs franchise player Branden Albert on the backburner -- perhaps permanently -- the Miami Dolphins continue to explore their options at offensive tackle.

NFL.com's Albert Breer reported Tuesday that free-agent offensive tackle Eric Winston will work out for the Dolphins on Wednesday, according to a source.

Winston is just one of several possible options for the Dolphins, who have been searching for an offensive tackle since Jake Long signed with the St. Louis Rams in March.

Bryant McKinnie visited with Miami on Monday. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported that former Atlanta Falcons offensive tackle Tyson Clabo is scheduled to meet with the Dolphins Tuesday night. Winston Justice also is reportedly scheduled for a visit.

Given the options, Albert still is the most logical fit, especially if the Dolphins don't feel comfortable permanently moving second-year right tackle Jonathan Martin to Ryan Tannehill's blindside.

Are the Dolphins legitimately interested in outside options, or are they simply posturing in a continued dance with the Chiefs? We'll find out soon enough.


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(nfl.com)
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Titans visit with Eric Winston

EricWinstonChiefs
The Titans started the process of filling in some post-draft gaps by bringing in three veteran free agents.

In addition to visiting with former Bears defensive end Israel Idonije, former Bengals cornerback Jason Allen visited with the team Monday, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

Adam Schefter of ESPN followed shortly thereafter with word that former Chiefs an Texans offensive tackle Eric Winston was there also.

The Titans have moved aggressively all offseason, and adding Winston would be another big step toward fortifying their offensive line, after signing guard Andy Levitre and drafting Chance Warmack.


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(profootballtalk.com)
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Eric Winston reportedly in talks with Miami Dolphins

EricWinston
A Miami Dolphins trade for Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Branden Albert never materialized, so the organization might have moved on to another tackle listed on the 2012 Chiefs roster. A source told the Miami Herald's Adam Beasley that the Dolphins have had consistent conversations with Eric Winston, and action might be taken soon.

The Dolphins still are in the market for a tackle after 2008 No. 1 overall pick Jake Long signed with the St. Louis Rams. They're happy with 2012 second-rounder Jonathan Martin, but they still need another starter. The Dolphins drafted Tennessee offensive tackle Dallas Thomas in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, but NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock called him a better prospect at guard, where he played in 2012. Thomas was the lone lineman the Dolphins picked in the draft.

The Chiefs released Winston in March and saved $3.5 million in salary cap space. The Chiefs drafted Eric Fisher with the No. 1 overall pick this year, and they plan to plug him in at left tackle. Winston signed a four-year, $22 million free-agent contract with the Chiefs before the 2012 season.


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(nfl.com)
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Cowboys indeed are considering Eric Winston

EricWinstonChiefs
There was a recent report the Dallas Cowboys were in talks with free agent right tackle Eric Winston and then that was shot down.

But where there is smoke, well, there might just be a fire. Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones told KRLD-FM on Tuesday that the club is indeed looking at Winston, who was released by the Kansas City Chiefs and is one of several experienced and skilled right tackles on the market with Andre Smith and Tyson Clabo.

“He’s obviously somebody that we’re taking a look at,” Jones said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “We certainly haven’t dismissed Doug (Free). We really felt like when we went to rotating him and Jermey Parnell that he really picked up his game in terms of the competition, not to mention the fact that I think he got some clarity as to what (offensive line coach) Bill Callahan was after.

“I think there’s some interest and prospects there between what we have and what we could get. Obviously on the interior part of our line the same thing holds true. I think we had some injuries there. Another year under Bill and more work, and not to mention what might happen in the draft. We’ll just have to see how that goes.”

These experienced right tackles are looking for solid pay, though, and this has been primarily a buyers’ market. Winston and Co. might not find a team willing to pay $4 million or even $3 million per year. Before the Cowboys add a tackle, though, they have to figure out what they want to do with Free, who has long been rumored to be in line for a pay reduction. Free is due to earn $7 million this season coming off a rough 2012 season. This might be a situation that unfolds following the draft.


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(nationalfootballpost.com)
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Dallas Cowboys are ‘taking a look’ at free agent RT Eric Winston

EricWinston
The Dallas Cowboys could certainly afford to upgrade their offensive line and free agent right tackle Eric Winston is on their radar.

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones talked about the team’s interest on Tuesday.

“He’s obviously somebody that we’re taking a look at,” Jones told the Elf & Slater show on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. “We certainly haven’t dismissed Doug [Free]. We really felt like when we went to rotating him and Jermey Parnell that he really picked up his game in terms of the competition, not to mention the fact that I think he got some clarity as to what [offensive line coach] Bill Callahan was after.

“I think there’s some interest and prospects there between what we have and what we could get. Obviously on the interior part of our line the same thing holds true. I think we had some injuries there. Another year under Bill and more work, and not to mention what might happen in the draft. We’ll just have to see how that goes.”

Winston, who has played for the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs, has started 103 games over his seven seasons in the NFL. That has included six consecutive seasons without missing a start. Winston, 29, is looking for a deal that will pay him between $3 and $4 million annually.

Free, the Cowboys’ current starting right tackle, is due to receive $7 million in 2013, making him the highest-paid right tackle in the NFL. The 29-year-old turned in a disappointing 2012 season and the Cowboys are likely looking for him to take a pay cut.


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(dallasnews.com)
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Eric Winston 'too pricey' for Cowboys

EricWinston
ESPN Dallas gets the sense that free agent RT Eric Winston is "too pricey" for the Cowboys.
"[His] price needs to come down," tweets beat writer Calvin Watkins. The Cowboys' interest in Winston seems genuine, but the 29-year-old is still not budging from his asking price of a multi-year deal at $3-4 million per year. Winston likely won't have a home until after the draft.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Eric Winston-to-Cowboys not imminent

EricWinstonChiefs
The Cowboys have been in contact with free agent RT Eric Winston, though no signing is imminent.

Reports that the Cowboys were in contract discussions with Winston weren't true, but the club has been in contact with the right tackle, and is using his situation as leverage in talks with current starter Doug Free. The second best tackle on the market, Winston is willing to play for $3-4 million -- half of the $7 million Free is scheduled to make. The Dolphins also remain interested, but are believed to be waiting until after the draft to make a decision.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Eric Winston wants $3-4 million, calls free agency “frustrating”

EricWinstonChiefs
Free agent right tackle Eric Winston says he just wants to be paid a fair wage for a starting offensive lineman, and he’s getting frustrated that no NFL teams are willing to pay him what he thinks he’s worth.

Winston said on Sirius XM NFL Radio that he knows he won’t get the kind of money he got last year from the Chiefs, when he signed a four-year, $22 million contract that included a $4 million signing bonus. The Chiefs cut him to avoid paying a $4.9 million base salary for 2013, and now Winston is just hoping some team will pay him more than $3 million in salary this year.

“In the $3-4 million range is something that I think is more than fair for a starter who has played pretty well throughout his career,” Winston said.

Although Winston had an offer from the Chargers and has talked to the Cowboys, his sense so far is that teams are being extremely careful with money this offseason.

“It’s also frustrating in the sense that there are still a lot of teams with money to spend, but it doesn’t seem like anyone wants to spend it,” Winston said.

The one right tackle who made good money from a new team this offseason was Gosder Cherilus, who left the Lions for the Colts on a five-year, $35 million contract with a $10 million signing bonus and a fully guaranteed $5.5 million salary this year. Winston laughed when he was asked about the huge contract that Cherilus got, although he declined to say whether he thinks he deserves more money than Cherilus.

“No comment on that one,” Winston said.

What Winston will comment on is this: If you’re a right tackle and your name is not Gosder Cherilus, the free agent market stinks.


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(profootballtalk.com)
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Eric Winston: San Diego Chargers talks 'fell through'

EricWinston
Eric Winston is looking for work, and the San Diego Chargers need to upgrade their offensive line, so it makes sense the two have spoken.

The free-agent right tackle said Monday that he discussed salary with the Chargers last month, "but things kind of fell through," Winston told SiriusXMSports, via U-T San Diego.

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the Dallas Cowboys also are interested in Winston, who said he's looking to make between $3 million and $4 million annually after being released by the Kansas City Chiefs in March. The market for right tackles is soft, and finding a new home hasn't been easy.

"It's frustrating, because I've never really been in this situation," Winston said. "I try to look at myself fairly. I don't ever want to be one of those guys that looks at themselves and thinks they hung the moon. I still feel like I'm still playing at a pretty high level, and I feel I can contribute to a team."

Winston hasn't missed a start since 2006, but tackle-needy teams like the Chargers widely are expected to target answers in the deep NFL draft class. While Winston isn't a roaring upgrade over Chargers right tackle Jeromey Clary, he would, of course, help the Dallas Cowboys end the Doug Free experiment, so somebody should come calling soon enough.


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(nfl.com)
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Eric Winston, Cowboys talking

EricWinston
Tackle Eric Winston continues to look for a job.  He could be finding one in Dallas.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Cowboys and Winston currently are in talks regarding a possible contract.

If Winston joins the Cowboys, that could seal the fate of Doug Free in Dallas.  Free’s future has been the subject of much speculation, and having Winston under contract would allow the Cowboys to either dump Free or squeeze him into doing a much less favorable deal.

Winston surprisingly was released by the Chiefs, with whom he signed last year after surprisingly being released by the Texans.


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(profootballtalk.com)
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Jaguars Have Shown Interest in Eric Winston

EricWinston
The Jacksonville Jaguars have expressed interest in free agent offensive tackle Eric Winston, according to his agent Drew Rosenhaus on the Joe Rose Show on 560AM WQAM (h/t @DomWorld_Peace).

Whether this is just Winston's agent drumming up interest or not, he's someone who could help the Jaguars immediately going forward. Winston, 29, was released by the Kansas City Chiefs earlier in the free agent period and has had minimal activity on the free agent market.

He's a right tackle with lots of experience in a zone blocking scheme. Originally drafted in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft, WInston spent his first six seasons in the NFL on the Houston Texans playing right tackle in their zone blocking scheme. Winston was released in 2012 by the Texans and quickly picked up by the Chiefs.

Since the 2007 season, Winston has started 96 straight games and played all 16 games six seasons in a row.


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(bigcatcountry.com)
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Dolphins' interest in Eric Winston 'waning'

EricWinstonChiefs
Per the Miami Herald, the Dolphins' interest in free agent RT Eric Winston has "otherwise waned somewhat."

Beat writer Armando Salguero thinks the Dolphins are only interested in signing Winston if the 29-year-old decides he'll play for Miami "very, very cheaply." After drawing a boatload of perceived interest shortly after his release, Winston's market has gone ice cold. Salguero adds that recently released RT Tyson Clabo could be a possibility for the Fins.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Dolphins Not willing to give Eric Winston a long-term deal

EricWinstonChiefs
The Miami Dolphins are not interested in giving free-agent OT Eric Winston (Chiefs) the long-term deal is he looking for this offseason. The team is also not interested in giving Winston $5 million per season.



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(kffl.com)
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Eric Winston has talked to Dolphins

EricWinstonChiefs
Free agent RT Eric Winston's player rep confirms he's been in contact with the Dolphins.

"I have talked to the Dolphins, and that is a fluid situation," Winston's rep said. "I don’t really know what direction that’s going to go yet. There are a number of teams interested in Eric. I don’t think a deal is imminent." As a released player, Winston is already free to sign with any team, but it sounds like his agent is planning to slow play the market. Winston will only end up in Miami if the Dolphins are convinced a new deal with Jake Long isn't possible.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Eric Winston still on San Diego Chargers' radar

EricWinstonChiefs
After dumping Jared Gaither on Wednesday, the San Diego Chargers are paper thin along the offensive line. Help might be on the way.

A team source told Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego that the team still has interest in free agent Eric Winston, the former Kansas City Chiefs right tackle who was released earlier this month.

Winston visited the Chargers three weeks ago and has been linked to the Miami Dolphins, but the "door remains open" in San Diego, according to the source. Winston, who started 16 games with the Chiefs last season, would loom as a right-side replacement for tackle Jeromey Clary. Gaither's fill-in figures to come in the 2013 NFL Draft, possibly with the Chargers' No. 11 pick.

Winston has taken his time in free agency. His agent said this week he would "really like" to play for the Dolphins after almost signing with the team last offseason. And another report on Thursday said the Philadelphia Eagles -- one of the first teams to show interest in Winston -- recently checked back in with his agent.

ProFootballFocus ranked Winston as the ninth-best right tackle in 2012, and he won't be out of work for long.


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(nfl.com)
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Eric Winston thinks it’s “a weird year” to be a free agent

EricWinston
Eric Winston is one of the best offensive tackles available in free agency, but that doesn’t mean he has teams beating down his door with big-money offers.

In fact, Winston acknowledged on NFL AM that he’s one of the many players finding this offseason a bit frustrating.

“I’m just kind of looking for the right fit right now, so hopefully that presents itself sooner than later,” Winston said. “I’m eager to get to a team and start the offseason process, but it’s been a weird market. It’s been a weird year for everybody, I think, in free agency. So now it’s just a matter of trying to find the right fit and find a home.”

Winston said there is some mutual interest with the Dolphins, but he didn’t seem to think anything is imminent in Miami. Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News reported that the Eagles have some interest, and Winston has visited the Chargers, but it doesn’t sound like any team is planning to offer anything close to the contract he signed with Kansas City a year ago.

Winston is one of the many free agents finding this offseason that enormous contracts just aren’t on the table.


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(profootballtalk.com)
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Miami Dolphins patient in search for offensive tackle as Eric Winston waits

EricWinstonChiefs
One by one, veteran offensive tackles are disappearing from the open market. And yet the Miami Dolphins, who hope to upgrade at the position, remain patient.

With Sebastian Vollmer resigning with the Patriots, the assumption is the run on the few remaining available starters will begin shortly.

That’s the hope of Eric Winston, the one-time Miami Hurricane lineman who is firmly on the Dolphins’ radar, but as of Monday, remained unsigned.

The Dolphins are one of a handful of teams Winston has visited since being released by the Chiefs three weeks ago. And while he declined to get into contract specifics, he did say he would be open to returning to South Florida.

“Playing in the NFL is a privilege,” Winston said, who was at UM from 2003 through 2005. “Being anywhere would be nice.

“But I know South Florida well,” he added. “I have friends down there. It’s a beautiful place to live. It would be pretty awesome to go back. Not going to say it’s the end-all to be in Miami. But it would be a great place to be for my personal experience.”

After hosting Winston last week, the Dolphins remain interested – but at their price. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said on his weekly WSVN Channel 7 segment Sunday that the situation is “fluid.”


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(miamiherald.com)
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Dolphins, Eric Winston close to deal

EricWinstonChiefs
The Miami Dolphins are hosting free agent offensive tackle Eric Winston on Wednesday hoping to hammer out a deal, according to Adam Schefter. Winston was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs earlier in the offseason, marking the second time in two years he was released. He was sent packing by the Houston Texans in 2012. Miami could use the help on the offensive line after watching Jake Long walk out the door, as he signed with the St. Louis Rams a four year, $36 million contract. Second-year tackle Jonathan Martin is expected to fill Long's shoes on the left side, but things are also uncertain on the right. Last year, Martin played there, leaving the door wide open at that position.


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(fannation.com)
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Eric Winston Has Drawn Interest From Patriots, Among Other Teams

EricWinstonChiefs
If the 2013 season started right now, third-year tackle Marcus Cannon would be the starter on the right side for New England.

It looks like the Patriots may be interested in some competition for the TCU product. New England has shown interest in Eric Winston, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Winston is a seven-year veteran out of Miami. He spent the first six years of his career with the Texans before signing a four-year, $22 million deal with the Chiefs last offseason.

Kansas City released him on March 6. The 6-foot-7, 310-pounder has played on the right side of the line his whole career, and the Patriots’ starting right tackle, Sebastian Vollmer, is also a free agent. If Winston signs on with New England, it could mean the end of Vollmer’s career with the Patriots.

New England has some competition for Winston’s services. He visited the Dolphins on Wednesday, while the Eagles, Chargers and Cowboys have also shown interest.


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(nesn.com)
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Eric Winston visited Chargers over the weekend

EricWinstonChiefs
According to Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego, Eric Winston visited the Chargers this weekend.

The Chargers have needs across the offensive line, and Winston would be an upgrade over Jeromey Clary, the incumbent with a $5.7 million cap number.

There were reports of interest from the Eagles and Texans shortly after Winston’s release, though no other reported visits. And in a few hours, the market will be full of other starting tackle options, which might make this the time to strike.


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(profootballtalk.com)
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Report: Eagles, Texans reach out to Eric Winston

EricWinston
Andy Reid’s new team said goodbye to right tackle Eric Winston on Wednesday, a move that piqued the interest of Reid’s old team.

Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that the Eagles were one of the first two teams to reach out to Winston after his announcement of his departure from the Chiefs hit the wires. Winston’s durability is likely part of the reason for the team’s interest. Winston has started all 96 games over the last six seasons while the Eagles were playing a season-long game of musical chairs in 2012 thanks to a slew of serious injuries to their projected starting offensive linemen.

Bowen reports that the other team to show interest in speaking to Winston was the Texans, who drafted him in 2006 and employed him until his release last March. Derek Newton started at right tackle for Houston in 2012.

When Winston was released last year, he was out of work for less than a week before landing in Kansas City. Given the early interest in his services, it may be another short spell on the unemployment line for Winston again this year.


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(profootballtalk.com)
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Chiefs release Eric Winston

EricWinstonChiefs
When Chiefs right tackle Eric Winston recently lamented the looming departure of quarterback Matt Cassel, we suggested that Winston could still suffer the same fate.

And now he is.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Chiefs are releasing Winston.  He’ll hit the free agent market immediately, a few days before it opens.
Winston was due to earn a base salary of $4.9 million in 2013.  He signed with the Chiefs after being cut last year by the Texans.

Because he received an $8.4 million signing bonus, the acceleration results in a $6.3 million cap charge.  That’s still $700,000 lower than it would have been if Winston had stayed — and also $4.9 million cheaper.

With an $8.4 million signing bonus and a $900,000 salary in 2012, Winston earned $9.3 million in one year with the Chiefs.

The move gives the Chiefs the flexibility to take Luke Joeckel with the first pick in the 2013 draft, and then to move Joeckel or Branden Albert to the right side.


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(profootballtalk.com)
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Eric Winston excited about arrival of Alex Smith

EricWinstonChiefs
Last year, Chiefs tackle Eric Winston called out Chiefs fans who cheered an injury suffered by quarterback Matt Cassel.  Now, Winston is rolling out the red carpet for Cassel’s replacement.

“I know I’m going to do everything I can to help him,” Winston told USA Today on Wednesday after news broke of the Chiefs’ trade for Alex Smith.

“It’s about winning,” Winston said.  “Alex is a guy who’s been there and has what it takes.  Alex can beat you a lot of different ways.  He’s a lot more athletic than people give him credit for.  It’s an exciting time with all the new people coming in.  It was definitely a change of direction the organization felt we needed to go in.”

Winston was careful to point out that he’s not throwing his former quarterback under the proverbial bus.

“I have a friendship with Matt Cassel,” Winston said.  “Obviously, you had the sense they were probably going to go in a different direction just because of the totality of all that’s happened.  But at the same time, you realize it’s going to cost some of your friends their jobs.  Obviously, the organization wanted to bring in new blood. You know that going in.  You know everybody is up for review and that’s just how it is.  For me, it’s personally bittersweet because I believe in Matt.  I think Cassel can get it done.  Maybe it will be a great change for him and he can go somewhere else where he can get a fresh start as well.”

Of course, Winston could be in the same boat as Cassel, when the dust settles.  The former Texan has only one season in Kansas City, and the new regime could decide to go in a different direction at right tackle, too.


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(profootballtalk.com)
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Eric Winston says Kansas City Chiefs fans want wins

EricWinstonChiefs
When an elderly woman got after Dexter McCluster this week about the struggles of the 1-9 Kansas City Chiefs, it was just the latest example of a frustrated fan base lashing out.

Chiefs right tackle Eric Winston heard about fans dressing in black to attend a game this month. He probably heard about the fan whose obituary cited Chiefs heartbreak as a contributing cause of death, too.

Winston spoke out in October when fans cheered as quarterback Matt Cassell was taken off the field with a concussion. Winston told NFL Network's Michelle Beisner there's only one way to quiet the masses.

"Look, if they need to act out and wear black to games or whatever it is, if they feel they need to do that, then so be it," he said. "My goal is to win. And when you can start winning, then that stuff kinda setttles itself. When you don't win, then this is the kind of stuff that can happen. I don't pay attention to be quite honest with you.

"I've been here for eight years and I think we have great fans," he told Beisner. "There's been ups and downs here and some things have happened this year that we're not proud of, but through thick and thin, I think they'll rise to the top."

The Chiefs have yet to win at Arrowhead Stadium this season, which doesn't help in matters of fan relations. It won't get any easier with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos coming to town on Sunday.


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(nfl.com)
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Life Isn’t Fun For Eric Winston Right Now

EricWinstonChiefs




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Eric Winston stands by remarks

EricWinstonChiefs
After Sunday's loss to the Ravens, Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Winston unloaded on those fans at Arrowhead Stadium who cheered when quarterback Matt Cassel was down on the turf with a concussion.

"Boo him all you want; boo me all you want," Winston said Sunday via CBSSports.com's C.J. Moore. "Throw me under the bus. Tell me I'm doing a bad job. Say I got to protect him more. But if you're one of those people that were out there cheering or even smiled when he got knocked out, I just want to let you know and I want everybody to know that I think it's sickening and disgusting."

A day later, Winston stood by the criticism that he leveled at those fans cheering Cassel's injury.

“I meant what I said. I didn't say it off the cuff,” Winston said, via the the Kansas City Star's Adam Teicher (by way of PFT). “I look back on it, and I'm happy with what I said.”

Not everybody felt that way. Former Chiefs offensive lineman Rich Baldinger thinks Winston needs to apologize to the people of Kansas City.
"Needless to say, you cannot, after a game in a highly emotional situation, take your rant that way," Baldinger said. "It came off wrong. You embarrassed a lot of great people in the city of Kansas City that have been so supportive of this team. You go to any other city, and it's worse. These fans have been here through thick and thin.

"I was here in the '80s. It was bad, it got good and these fans have stayed here forever. Eric Winston, I think you owe these fans an apology because you cannot lump together everyone with a few you-know-what's out there -- a few jerks that might've had maybe one too many in the stands. So let's not put all these Kansas City fans together … Sometimes it's better to stop, take a breath, think about think about what you [say] before you say it."

Then the discussion promptly turned to Philly fans because, well, they always seem to come up whenever the topic is unruly crowd behavior. Incidentally, Baldinger's brother, Brian, serves as the Eagles' color commentator during preseason games.

Winston, meanwhile, offered this clarification on Monday: “I didn't mean all 70,000 [fans] were cheering. It might have been 7,000. It might have been 700. It's still too many.”


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(cbssports.com)
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Eric Winston blasts fans for cheering Cassel injury

EricWinston
Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel may not be very popular in the stands, but he still has support in the locker room.

Chiefs right tackle Eric Winston took fans to task for cheering when Cassel left the game with a head injury.

The veteran blocker called a group of reporters over, and said the following words, via Arrowhead Pride:

“We are athletes, OK? We are athletes. We are not gladiators. This is not the Roman Coliseum. People pay their hard-earned money when they come in here and I believe they can boo, they can cheer and they can do whatever they want, I believe that. We are lucky to play this game. People, it’s hard to economic times, and they still pay the money to do this.

“But when somebody gets hurt, there are long lasting ramifications to the game we play, long lasting ramifications to the game we play. I’ve already kinda come to the understanding that I won’t live as long because I play this game and that’s OK, that’s a choice I’ve made and a choice all of us have made.

“But when you cheer, when you cheer somebody getting knocked out, I don’t care who it is, and it just so happened to be Matt Cassel — it’s sickening. It’s 100 percent sickening. I’ve been in some rough times on some rough teams, I’ve never been more embarrassed in my life to play football than in that moment right there.

“I get emotional about it because these guys, they work their butts off. Matt Cassel hasn’t done anything to you people, hasn’t done anything to you people. Hasn’t done anything to the media writers that kill him, hasn’t done anything wrong to the people that come out here and cheer him. Hey, if he’s not the best quarterback then he’s not the best quarterback and that’s OK. But he’s a person. And he got knocked out in a game and we have 70,000 people cheering that he got knocked out?

“Boo him all you want. Boo me all you want. Throw me under the bus. Tell me I’m doing a bad job. Say I gotta protect him more. Do whatever you want. Say whatever you want. But if you are one of those people, one of those people that were out there cheering or even smiled when he got knocked out, I just want to let you know, and I want everybody to know that I think it’s sickening and disgusting. We are not gladiators and this is not the Roman Coliseum. This is a game.

“I’ll sit here and I’ll answer all your questions for the next 30 minutes if you want to ask them and I’ll take all the responsibility I can take because I deserve it but don’t blame a guy, and don’t cheer for a guy who has done everything in his power to play as good as he can for the fans.

“It’s sickening. And I was embarrassed. I want every single one of you people to put this on your station and in your newspapers because I want every fan to know that. This is a game that’s going to cost us a lot down the road. That’s OK. We picked it, we deserve it and I don’t want your pity. But we have a lot of problems as a society if people think that’s OK.

“I’ll get off my soap box and you guys can ask any football question you want.”

No, Eric, that pretty much covers it.

The Chiefs have played poorly. Frankly, they are a disaster. Cassel leads the parade.

But for too many fans, their passion for the team leads them to forget that the laundry they’re cheering for has a human being inside it.


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(nbcsports.com)
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Eric Winston finding out what life in AFC West is all about

EricWinston
Eric Winston's NFL career was spent in Houston in a division where the rivalries were relatively new.

The Texans compete in the AFC South and the games with Tennessee, Jacksonville and Indianapolis were heated, especially the games with the Titans.
But as Winston embarks on his first season with the Kansas City Chiefs he's already seeing how much different it is to play in a division -- the AFC West -- where the rivalries are long-standing and in some cases a little nasty.

The Chiefs, Oakland, Denver and San Diego are all original American Football League franchises, and are all in the same division and when they play it sometimes just isn't another NFL game.

"It's pretty neat and I'm looking forward to that," Winston said last week. "I always thought the game with Tennessee was big, and Indy was always a good game and Jacksonville always played us tough as well. But you have that long standing, maybe just hatred for one another and the organizations in the process it does make it a little different.

"Those games are fun, and they have a little extra pop to them."

The different uniform and playing different teams is just part of the change for Winston, a seventh-year pro and Lee grad, as he will play his first game with the Chiefs at noon today at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City against Atlanta.

Winston said his transition to a new organization and new city has been relatively smooth. He said there is always some change when you go to a new team with a new coach, and moving into a new town.

When Winston was released in March by the Texans, the Chiefs were one of the first teams to court him and bring him to Kansas City. Kansas City even took Winston to one of the city's famous barbecue restaurants.

But he said the transition to a place such as Kansas City has been good because he said other than its location it's a similar city to Houston. Winston said he moved his family up there with him as well.

"Kansas City is a really good place," Winston said. "I think if we were up in the Northeast where the way of living is a little different it might be a little harder. But Kansas City is like Houston in a lot of ways."

Meanwhile on the field, Winston has been able to fit into a Chiefs team that has high hopes of navigating its way through the AFC West into the postseason after a year hiatus.

The Chiefs finished a disappointing 7-9 last season and went through a coaching change. Winston will be part of a revamped offensive line that will be blocking for a solid 1-2 punch at running back.

Kansas City picked up Peyton Hillis in the offseason and he will be back there with the speedy Jamaal Charles.

"I'm real excited about both of those guys because they can go," Winston said. "It's not just them but we've got a really good set of backs."

It's been a few months since Winston was released from the only professional team he's played for, and even today he still gets asked questions about his surprising release by the Texans.

Winston said he's moved on and is ready for what awaits with a new team in a new city and in a new division.

"It's just the way it goes and you can't harp on it and let it consume you," Winston said. "I'm here now and I'm just going to make the best of it. I happy to get to know my teammates and get all in with them."


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(mywesttexas.com)
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Eric Winston shoring up line

EricWinston
Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Winston has shored up the right side of the offensive line with athleticism and quickness. The team has been able to use more zone-base schemes as a result. Our View: Winston could help the HIllis/Charles backfield look like the Jones/Charles backfield of 2010. The Texans and Arian Foster will miss him.


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(ewallstreeter.com)
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Eric Winston: Players regret giving Roger Goodell “absolute power”

EricWinston
In nearly every critique of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s punishment of the Saints players involved in an alleged bounty system, you’re apt to hear the phrase “judge, jury and executioner.”

Another player’s now saying it’s their own fault Goodell has all those titles. Chiefs right tackle Eric Winston told Jim Corbett of USA Today he regretted the fact the NFLPA didn’t push harder against it during CBA negotiations.

“Obviously we don’t want Roger Goodell having absolute power,” Winston said. “In a lot of this process, it seems like he does. It’s unfortunate. It seems like he’s running amok with it and deciding to do what he wants and it really doesn’t matter what the evidence says. Unfortunately, we don’t have an alternative option to appeal to.

“In that CBA bargaining process, you’re not going to get everything you want. That’s not to say we weren’t trying to curb some of that (power). To say we weren’t trying to do something about that is false. Just from what’s been told to me, there were attempts made. And there’s a tradeoff. To do that, we probably looked at sacrificing playing less games, so you always look at the risk and reward. And try to juggle that.”

So Winston thinks taking away some power from Goodell would have resulted in more regular season games? Linking those two directly seems like a stretch, but there is the fact that the players had the opportunity to curb some of that authority and chose not to push it.

Cardinals kicker Jay Feely, the team’s union rep, said in a text to Corbett the issue wasn’t considered a deal-breaker at the time.

“Yes, the players wish he didn’t have that power, but it wasn’t worth sacrificing CBA [over],” Feely said.

Roddy White might have been among the first to complain about the failure to negotiate some of that power away, but he apparently won’t be the last.


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(nbcsports.com)
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Two proCanes Rated Top 20 AFC West O-Lineman

OrlandoFranklinBroncos
We are continuing our divisional position ranking with the offensive linemen. Overall, it is a young group with many players who have potential to move up in future years.

1. Eric Winston, T, Kansas City: Arguably the best right tackle in the NFL. The Chiefs scored major with this free-agent signing.

2. Ryan Clady, T, Denver: Clady’s sack and penalty numbers are up, but he is still an above-average player who should benefit from playing with Peyton Manning.

3. Nick Hardwick, C, San Diego: A strong, reliable player whom the Chargers absolutely had to re-sign.

4. Chris Kuper, G, Denver: Ask any scout about underrated players and Kuper is probably on every list.

5. Jared Veldheer, T, Oakland: The list is getting difficult here. I’m going with Veldheer as the second-best left tackle based on potential. It’s sky-high.

6. Jared Gaither, T, San Diego: If healthy, he can be dominant -- as he showed with the Chargers late last season.

7. Branden Albert, T, Kansas City: Solid, not spectacular, but you can do a lot worse and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Chiefs gave him an extension this season..

8. Stefen Wisniewski, C, Oakland: I like this second-year guard-turned-center a lot. A future star.

9. Mike Brisiel, G, Oakland: Tough, gritty player who is perfect for the zone-blocking offense.

10. Louis Vasquez, G, San Diego: A quiet, solid contributor.

11. Jeromey Clary, T, San Diego: A lot of Chargers fans don’t like him, but he gets the job done.

12. Jon Asamoah, G, Kansas City: This second-year starter looks solid.

13. Ryan Lilja, G, Kansas City: A tough vet who is probably entering his final season as a starter in Kansas City.

14. J.D. Walton, C, Denver: A tough, young starter who still needs to find consistency.

15. Zane Beadles, G, Denver: He has potential, but still needs to grow.

16. Orlando Franklin, T, Denver: He struggled some as a rookie, but there is big potential there.

17. Cooper Carlisle, G, Oakland: He keeps hanging around. The end may be near, but he can zone-block.

18. Rodney Hudson, C, Kansas City: He is poised to start for the first time, taking over for Casey Wiegmann. He could be very good.

19. Tyronne Green, G, San Diego: He is taking over for the great Kris Dielman, who retired. Green has been good as an injury replacement in the past.

20. Khalif Barnes, T, Oakland: He could lose his job to Joe Barksdale if he slips.


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(espn.com)
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Eric Winston: OTAs help build strong line

EricWinston
RT Eric Winston said this week's OTAs are a good way to start the important process of installing a new offense and building a cohesive unit. “There are going to be some tough days ahead and I think you have to prepare for that,” Winston said. “I think we have the right personnel, we have the right coaches and we have the right scheme to be successful.”


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(cbssports.com)
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Eric Winston works to bring Chiefs’ offensive line together

EricWinston
Eric Winston is the new guy on the Chiefs’ offensive line, but he’s already working on a side role as the group’s social director.

Winston came to the Chiefs from Houston, where the Texans had one of the league’s best offensive lines. He credits not only the ability of the five starters but the off-field togetherness of the whole group.

“We were successful in Houston because a lot of those guys not only practiced together, but we did a lot of stuff off the field,’’ said Winston, signed by the Chiefs last month as a free agent to be their starter at right tackle. “We did a lot of dinners together. We did a lot of things, just little events. We’d go bowling, whatever it was.

“That’s important because there are going to be times where you’ve got to tell the guy next to you something he probably doesn’t want to hear, and vice versa, they’re going to have to tell me stuff I don’t want to hear. It’s hard to do that if you’re not close, if you’re not friends, if you don’t have that personal relationship. That’s something I’m trying to cultivate here.’’

The Chiefs led the NFL in rushing in 2010, a testament in part to the play of their offensive line. But the group’s performance fell off last year.
The Chiefs are hoping to revitalize their line by adding Winston, 28, and promoting Rodney Hudson, their second-round draft pick last year, to replace retiring veteran Casey Wiegmann at center.

That leaves left guard Ryan Lilja, 30, as the old man of the bunch.

“I’ll try to be what Jeff Saturday was for me with the Colts and what Casey and what Brian Waters were for me here,’’ Lilja said. “That’s the guy that helps guys try to be better. Better players, better workers, better studiers. I’m not saying I’m the best at all those things, but I can help guys with all those things. I can tell the young guys how long the season is and how important it is to take care of your body. Guys need to hear that stuff, and I can pass along those nuggets of information.’’

Winston is the newest member of the line, but he’s second in NFL experience behind Lilja. The other starters are Branden Albert at left tackle and Jon Asamoah at right guard.

So there’s not a lot of experience on the line. Winston and Hudson will be in their first season as starters for the Chiefs, Asamoah his second.

“Ryan Lilja is going to be our leader in that room,’’ Winston said. “He’s a veteran guy. He’s won a Super Bowl before. He knows how to do it. But you’ve also got guys like Jon Asamoah and Branden Albert who are young players but I think are going to be really good players. Obviously, (Rodney) Hudson is going to have to fill some big shoes for (Casey) Wiegmann. I see no reason we can’t build that same kind of continuity and that same kind of leadership and everything that goes into being a top offensive line in this league.

“Already, in a week, you can already kind of see that forming.’’

Winston has to find his place in that beyond leading outings to restaurants and bowling alleys. In Houston, he was frequently quoted in the media but said he wasn’t always the loudest in the offensive line meetings.

“I might have been the mouthpiece, but I don’t know if I was the vocal leader,’’ he said. “For me, it’s just getting to know them and for them getting to know me. You don’t handpick leaders. You’ve always got a clown, always got a guy that keeps the room light. You’ve always got the guys that are going to do 100 percent all the time. Everyone has their roles. I don’t look at it like this guy has to be the leader in everything.

“Everyone is going to fit in where he’s going to fit in. That’s the best way to go about it. If you start forcing guys into roles, you won’t have that same mesh that you need to.’’


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(kansascity.com)
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Miami Dolphins History of NOT Drafting proCanes

RayLewis
The Dolphins will check out UM draft prospects on Wednesday and Thursday, which reminds us that they have selected only two Hurricanes in the past 20 drafts (Yatil Green in 1997 and Vernon Carey in 2004). “It’s mind-boggling,” Ed Reed said at UM’s Hall of Fame inductions Thursday. “We’re right here!” Bryant McKinnie said. “You would think they would know us better than anybody.”

If the Dolphins sign McIntosh, he would be the only Hurricanes player on the roster - for now - because Carey is not expected to return.
The Dolphins insist they have no objection to drafting UM players, and they are believed to like a few departing Canes, including receiver Tommy Streeter.

Keep in mind this is a franchise that took John Jerry at 73 over Jimmy Graham (who went 95th) in 2010 when Bill Parcells mistakenly thought he could draft Graham in the fourth round; Jamar Fletcher (26) over Reggie Wayne (30) in 2001; selected Jason Allen 16th and traded the 51st pick for Daunte Culpepper in 2006 (instead of signing Drew Brees), thus eliminating any chance of drafting Devin Hester (57) or Eric Winston (66); and took Anthony Alabi over Chris Myers in 2005, among other moves. Choosing solid pro Daryl Gardener at 20 instead of Ray Lewis (26) in 1996 would have been regrettable if Jimmy Johnson hadn’t found a gem in Zach Thomas at No. 154 that year.

McKinnie said he, Reed and Jeremy Shockey used to talk about finishing their careers with the Dolphins, but “the Dolphins wouldn’t do that. In college, we all said we would take pay cuts to come to the Dolphins.”

McKinnie said he doubts that would happen now. "I don't know what direction this team is going in," McKinnie said.

Miami didn’t try to sign McKinnie or Shockey when they were free agents last year, opting for Marc Colombo and Jeron Mastrud. Wayne would have considered the Dolphins last month, “but it didn’t seem like they wanted me.”


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(miamiherald.com)
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Texans ask Eric Winston to buy a Reliant Stadium suite

EricWinstonTexansSuiteFlyer
The Texans might want to work on better communication between their front office and their ticket sales staff.

If they do, they’ll probably avoid sending recently cut players marketing come-ons to buy suites for the coming season at Reliant Stadium. That’s exactly what happened to Eric Winston, who got axed by the Texans earlier this month before landing in Kansas City as the Chiefs’ new right tackle. Winston shared a photo of the promotional materials on Twitter, quipping that “somebody didn’t get the memo.” It’s a safe bet that Winston’s going to pass on this offer.

As the Houston Chronicle points out, this was surely a marketing blitz targeting plenty of people in the Houston area as opposed to one with the very strange focus on players recently pink slipped by the team. That doesn’t make it any less humorous, however.

Winston agrees, although he says that his wife wasn’t quite so amused by the team’s inability to check their mailing list twice. Let’s hope they remembered to at least forward DeMeco Ryans‘ copy to Philadelphia.




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(profootballtalk.com)
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Eric Winston gives fans inside look at his release from Texans

EricWinston
What it feels like to have your world turned upside down.

I asked new Kansas City tackle Eric Winston, who was unexpectedly cut by Houston and signed a four-year deal with the Chiefs, to write a short piece about what happens when a veteran player gets whacked and has to find a new home. His thoughts:

"The general manager needs to see you" is about the worst thing any professional athlete can hear. Very seldom does any good, at least in the short term, come of it. Around this time of year, as well as the end of August, pro football players hear it too much. When it happened to me the day before free agency began, a few things ran through my mind. They can't be calling to cut me, I thought. But I also doubt that they would call me to the stadium to ask me how my trip overseas to see the troops went.

So I became a statistic. One day before my wife and I were set to leave on an anniversary vacation -- and three days after my return from Afghanistan visiting the troops -- I was called into coach Gary Kubiak's office so he could tell me that they were experiencing problems with the salary cap, had to make some tough decisions, and were therefore releasing me. After that meeting, I got to go see Texans general manager Rick Smith. In all fairness, I appreciate the way the Texans' organization handled it. They didn't tell me over the phone, let me find out through a media release, or hand me off to one of their subordinates to deliver the bad news.

So I was off to free agency for the first time in my career, to Miami and Kansas City. Fortunately for me, I have put together quality tape, and my agent started receiving calls as soon as I was officially available. We immediately started whittling down the list to teams that wanted to bring me in for visits.

These visits for teams are used primarily to give the player a physical and for you to sign off on the team so they can get your medical records and also for you to meet the coaches and see the facility. For obvious financial reasons these teams want to know about every injury and take new X-rays of nearly your entire body just to make sure there isn't anything new to find. After the half-day worth of doc visits, an intern drives you to the facility to follow up with the coaches and to see the facility. It doesn't quite compare to college recruiting; there's not nearly as much hand-holding and kissing up. While all of this is going on, your agent and the GM or team negotiator are talking numbers and seeing about a deal.

Kansas City was aggressive from the start. When a team schedules a visit, you usually receive a call from the general manager, head coach or position coach telling you how excited they are that you are coming in and how interested they are in you. With the Chiefs, I received calls from all three of them. They made it clear that I was a priority and that I needed to make sure that I got on the plane from Miami and make it to Kansas City.
When I met with Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, I got a little surprise. I had mentioned at dinner the previous night that when I came out in the draft in 2006, I didn't think the Patriots (where he was working at the time) liked me when I was entering the draft. Scott started laughing out loud and said, "No way, we liked you a lot.'' So the next day he showed me my Patriots psychological evaluation from 2006. To my surprise, it was very complimentary of me and was actually pretty spot on. I thought it was kind of crazy that someone could talk to me for 30 minutes and in that short time sum up what kind of player, worker and overall teammate I would be. Scott said that this is just one of the reasons why he wanted me. He went on to say that winning wasn't just about getting guys that could play, it was about getting high-character guys who come to work every day and were willing to grind.

Obviously that is always nice to hear, but more importantly for me, it let me know that the Chiefs were going to follow a formula that I believe is the only way to be successful for a long time in the NFL. Draft guys who can do it on the field, but also guys who are fun to be around, work hard and care about things like practice and trying to get better every day. Needless to say, I was sold on the fact that the Chiefs not only had a good chance to be a strong team next year, but for years to come.

But I needed to know where I'd fit in the offense. When I spoke with the coaches I was pleasantly surprised. The head coach, Romeo Crennel, has a great reputation around the league. Knowing that a new offense was being installed had me wondering what kind of offense would be coming in. The offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, has traditionally run more of a "power or gap" blocking scheme and the line coach, Jack Bicknell Jr., who just came over from the Giants, has done the same. Now, I feel like I could be successful in any scheme, but I really have grown to love running the zone scheme and understand it well. So going in I wasn't expecting to hear that the Chiefs would run a zone-blocking scheme, but that's exactly what I heard. That was like icing on the cake to what had been an already positive visit. I spent one more night in Kansas City and we worked out a contract to make me a Chief for the next four years.

Single guys can make a move like this easily. But having a family, and moving a wife, a 10-year-old daughter with plenty of friends and a 6-month-old son is another matter. To make it easy to understand for my daughter, I told her I had gotten traded to the Chiefs. She said, "Really?" (Which, of course, if you have kids, you know that's not a rhetorical question.)

"Who did you get traded for?'' my daughter asked.

I laughed, then came clean about getting released. She had a better understanding about the NFL than I thought, and certainly better than when I was her age.

In many ways, football's the easy part when it comes to switching teams. The life stuff is more difficult. Do we sell our house in Houston that we spent so much time making our own? Rent or buy in KC? How long will we really be there for? Will my kids adjust to the new part of the country? Will my wife have good friends on the new team? The questions linger.

I'm definitely not asking you to feel sorry for me. We get paid a lot of money to play a great game, but I am just trying to bring you into what is presently going on in my uncertain world right now. Plenty of guys around the league didn't get a four-year contract. Many of them got a one-year deal and will be facing the same visits and the same questions again -- if they're lucky. Each player's career is so fragile. Just look at Peyton Manning, maybe the best ever, is now on a different team after not playing last year when he injured his neck. The roller coaster ride that is the NFL doesn't stop at the end of the season. For most players, it's just begun.


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(cnnsi.com)
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Eric Winston says his ankle is fine

EricWinston
Newly signed offensive tackle Eric Winston pronounced his ankle healthy, and he'll be on the practice field when off-season activities begin.
Houston released Winston, a six-year starter, in part because of salary cap issues and also because the Texans were concerned about his ankle.
But Winston, who has made 87 starts in his six years, said he had an ankle scope that cleaned up any problems.

"The problem is I didn’t have it until the end of the year," said Winston, who signed a contract for four years worth up to $21 million "I kind of waited to see what it was going to do … I had the typical sprained ankles from a youth playing basketball … and football and all kinds of other sports.
"Just got a little clean out, and now I’m fine. I just hasve to get my final release from the doctor, and we’ll be good to go.”

Winston, 28, had not considered signing with the Chiefs after his released, but he appreciated the fullcourt press put on by Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli, coach Romeo Crennel and others on the staff.

"Kansas City was a place I wasn’t familiar with, I came in with open eyes …" Winston said. "To tell you the truth, I thought it was more of a rust-belt city … when you get there, you learn it’s far from it, it’s a beautiful city, a beautiful place, I was blown away with the overlall atmosphere of Kansas City."

Winston, part of an offensive line that helped the Texans finish second in the NFL in rushing yards and paved the way for the first postseason appearance and win in franchise history last year as disappointed to have to leave Houston.

"When you’re part of a building project, I got here in '06, same time coach (Gary) Kubiak did. We were 6-10 that first year, 8-8 a bunch of years, and last year we broke through. Of course it’s frustrating, you establish a base and a lot of friends and you want to see it through.

"I wanted to see it through from the sense of how much work I put into it, and from the sense I feel like there’s some unfinished business. But that’s modern NFL, that’s salary cap, and that’s the way things go."

But he saw some parallels to the Chiefs.

"I’ll be in a similar situation with a team that is on the brink of breaking through, so I feel like I’m going to a really good situation where it’s not that much different," Winston said of Kansas City.

"It’s a city that wants to win and wants to win badly. And it’s a team that is on the brink of doing it. I wouldn’t have come to Kansas City for any other reason than to win … and looking at the roster, and looking at the moves that have been made, we’re going to have the pieces.

"I looked at their season last year, an d it reminded me of the Texans season in 2010, that there were some high hopes going into the season, you thought you had all the pieces in place, and things happened … we had several injuries and lost a lot of close games, and you look at that and you look at what happened in Kansas City … where Matt Cassel was hurt, and Eric Berry … Jamaal Charles, who I think might be one of the most explosive backs in the league … you look at everything that happened, and they’re still a play away from being in the playoffs.

"That says something about the resiliency of the team that is already there. I know how tough that is, and looking at that, and saying, maybe I can be a big part of a come back and getting over the hump.”


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(chiefsblog.com)
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Eric Winston signs with Chiefs

EricWinston
Two former Texans – offensive tackle Eric Winston and cornerback Jason Allen – signed with new teams on Saturday.

After visiting Miami and Kansas City, Winston cancelled other visits to sign with the Chiefs.

Winston, who never missed a start for the Texans after he worked his way into the lineup, was a casualty of the salary cap. The Texans saved $4.5 million by releasing him. When they re-signed Chris Myers, his cap figure this year was $4.5 million.

“The Chiefs showed me how much they really wanted me,” Winston said. “I had offers, but at the end of the day, it came down to what they can be and me wanting to be a part of it.”

The Chiefs have been looking for a player to solidify right tackle for years, and few have been as durable or as good as Winston.
Rashad Butler inherits Winston’s starting job.


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(chron.com)
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Eric Winston scheduled to arrive at Rams Park tod

EricWinston
The Chiefs hosted offensive tackle Eric Winston for a free agent visit on Thursday.

NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora reported last night that Kansas City was “pretty serious” about keeping Winston at club headquarters, intending to make the Chiefs his final free agent visit.

Winston is scheduled to visit Rams Park on Friday, however, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

So if the Chiefs let Winston get out of town, he might not come back.


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(profootballtalk.com)
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Eric Winston expected to meet with Lions soon

EricWinston
Former Texans' RT Eric Winston will meet with Lions' officials in the near future, according to multiple reports. Winston's proficiency as a run blocker would be a welcome addition to a Lions' O-line that struggled in that area during the 2011 season. The six-year veteran started 87 of 92 career games played before being released by Houston on Monday. Winston is also expected to meet with the Rams, Chiefs and Ravens.

Winston (Texans) left the Dolphins' facility without a contract Wednesday, and the free agent OT pool is getting thinner by the day. Miami could opt to draft OT Riley Reiff (Iowa) with the No. 8 selection. But the trading of WR Brandon Marshall to the Bears creates another gaping hole, seemingly making drafting an OL unlikely.


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(cbssports.com)
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Ravens, Lions interested in Eric Winston

EricWinston
The wooing of LT Eric Winston added two more suitors, as the Ravens and Lions have shown interest, according to the Houston Chronicle. Released by the Texans on Monday, Winston will visit the Chiefs on Thursday and also has the Rams in play.



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(cbssports.com)
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Eric Winston To Visit Dolphins

EricWinston
Winston, who went to the University of Miami, started all 16 games last season and ranked 11th among all NFL tackles, according to profootballfocus.com. He ranked fourth as a run blocker. Winston, cut by the Texans on Monday, is the best free agent right tackle on the market. He told me he will visit the Dolphins in the next couple days but does not yet have an offer from Miami.

The Dolphins want to save much of their cap space until they receive an answer from Peyton Manning, or potentially, backup plan Matt Flynn. But Winston would clearly be the best right tackle available unless the Dolphins use the eighth pick of the draft on Iowa's Riley Reiff. Problem is, bidding will be high for him.


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(miamiherald.com)
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Texans take a big risk in releasing Eric Winston

EricWinston
In the shadow of a nasty defense and the brilliance of Arian Foster, the offensive line of the Houston Texans may have been overlooked last season. It was one of the league's best units, especially in the running game, and Monday, the Texans said goodbye to one of the line's anchors. Eric Winston was released.

It came as a surprise to everyone, including Winston. The guy had started 87 straight games at tackle for the Texans, and was one of the reasons that Houston ‒ when Matt Schaub missed games, when Andre Johnson missed games, and when Arian Foster missed games ‒ could stay competitive offensively. They could still block.

It's a salary cap move, of course, and the Texans need to create a little wiggle room under the cap if they want to keep Mario Williams or some of their other free agents. Here's Winston, via John McClain at chron.com:

"Basically, they told me they were up against it (the salary cap) and didn't want to insult me by asking me to take a pay cut," he said. "They said they hated to do it and maybe we could work something out down the road, but, well, I'm just stunned. I didn't want to leave. This just sucks." [...]

"I still think the Texans are going to be great. They don't need me to be great. I think they're going to have a big-time team next season, and I'm sorry I'm not going to be part of it."

Sounds like a sweet guy.

I just wonder if the Texans, with Mario Williams about to get a fruit basket from every GM in the league, wouldn't have been better off hanging on to Winston. Someone's going to make Williams a massive offer ‒ something that, if the Texans could afford, they'd have paid by now.

Yes, they were up against the cap, but they weren't over it. They're probably going to lose Williams no matter what, and after that, I don't know what free agent they have that's more worth keeping than Eric Winston. Having a cohesive, reliable offensive line was so important to the Texans' success last year. I don't know why they'd want to mess with that.


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(yahoo.com)
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Why was Eric Winston cut? Here are four theories

EricWinston
I don’t believe that cutting Eric Winston was a good “football decision”…. at least not entirely.  Clearly, the Texans needed to shave salary to get underneath the salary cap. By cutting Winston, they accomplished that.  However, I’m not sure why the Texans didn’t go to Winston to restructure his deal.  They wouldn’t have saved as much with a restructure, but they could have kept their offensive line together.

Continuity on the offensive line is key.  The best run blocking units are the ones who play together the longest, and the Texans unit has been together for consecutive years.  Good zone-scheme teams work as one fluid unit with five, six or seven players up front working as one.  When you get a running back like Arian Foster who runs with elite tempo and vision, that running game unit is a sight to behold.

So with Eric Winston gone, there has to be a concern about continuity on the offensive line along with timing.  Will the running game be as good?  How long will it take a new right tackle to get into a groove at that position?  Or worse yet, what if cutting Winston doesn’t ensure that Mike Brisiel and Chris Myers are still Houston Texans?  What will happen to the Texans offensive line if they lose two or more starters?

Why Was Eric Winston Cut?

Let’s take a look at some potential theories as to why Eric Winston was cut.

The Mario Factor?: There is still a theory out there that the Texans continue to make room under the cap so that they can re-sign Mario Williams.  Winston had only two years left on his deal so the Texans wouldn’t have been able to restructure the deal to their liking without more years available to spread a prorated signing bonus over.  While Winston’s cut clears a decent amount of space, sources have told me that they aren’t close on a deal with Chris Myers or Mike Brisiel.  If the Texans lose the right side of their line and their center along with the cap cuts they have already made, they could be putting together enough space to get Mario Williams done….. but at what cost to the team?

Stabilizing Offensive Line Prices?: Duane Brown is one of the top offensive tackles in football and will command that type of salary next year when he is a free agent.  If you pay Duane Brown top dollar, then you would have a fairly expensive running game when you factor in Chris Myers, Eric Winston and Arian Foster.  The Texans have already spent on Foster so they may be deciding that they need to preemptively attack the amount of money they want to pay to their running game which includes offensive linemen.

Better Value To Be Had?: Maybe the Texans simply thought Eric Winston wasn’t as good as he needed to be relative to his salary.  If that were the case, they could have decided to cut him in favor of the less expensive Rashad Butler who has longer arms and maybe a shade more athleticism.
Are The Manning Rumors True?: This one is a long-shot, but what if the Texans are clearing out space for Peyton Manning?  If they also dealt Matt Schaub, they could save even more cap space and potentially have enough room for a 2nd-tier wide receiver as well as Manning if they structured the salaries appropriately.  I don’t see this as a viable option, but at least it is on the table.


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(chron.com)
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Texans waive offensive tackle Eric Winston

EricWinston
After starting 87 consecutive games and helping the Texans win the AFC South for the first time, right tackle Eric Winston became a shocking victim of the salary cap on Monday.

Winston was surprised when coach Gary Kubiak and general manager Rick Smith called him in, gave him the bad news and explained their reasoning.

“Basically, they told me they were up against it (the salary cap) and didn’t want to insult me by asking me to take a pay cut,” he said. “They said they hated to do it and maybe we could work something out down the road, but, well, I’m just stunned. I didn’t want to leave. This just sucks.”

Winston, who returned this weekend from a USO trip to Afghanistan with other players from around the NFL, is regarded as one of the best in the league at his position. It could turn into a bittersweet situation because productive offensive tackles are going to be scarce in free agency.

“It’s kind of exciting, too, not knowing what’s going to be out there,” he said. “I know there’s not going to be a lot of right tackles out there, so it’s going to be exciting to see how it shakes out.

“Unless somebody blows my socks off (with an offer), I won’t be in a rush to sign. I definitely want to be in a good situation like we had here.”
Winston, a third-round pick in 2006, leaves a hole in the starting lineup.

The only remaining tackles on the team besides starter Duane Brown on the left side are Rashad Butler and Derek Newton. Butler spent last season on injured reserve. Newton was a seventh-round pick last year. He played on special teams and in short-yardage situations.

“It’s frustrating in a sense because we went through so much to get to where we finished the season,” Winston said. “I wanted to be a part of what’s ahead.

“I still think the Texans are going to be great. They don’t need me to be great. I think they’re going to have a big-time team next season, and I’m sorry I’m not going to be part of it.

“But one door closes, and it’s a little exciting to see what door opens.”


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(chron.com)
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Will Eric Winston savings save Chris Myers?

EricWinston
Texans right tackle Eric Winston announced on Twitter that he’s being released by the Texans in a move that’s got to be coming to help give the team enough money to make bids to keep outside linebacker Mario Williams and center Chris Myers.

Winston was slated to make a $5.5 million base salary in 2012.

Four tweets from Winston:

Unfortunately I have bad news. The Texans have decided to release me today. Although it is a surprise, I have nothing but positive memories

And great relationships that I have built over the years. While my future seems uncertain, I am confident I will land on my feet.

Let me say thank you to Mr. McNair and the whole Texan organization. They have had big role in the player and person I have become.

And last but not least to my fans and teammates. You guys are the absolute best! I will miss all of you more than you know.

It’s a classy exit following surprising news.

The Texans' offensive line has been a team strength and Winston has been an effective player in helping spring Arian Foster for an awful lot of yards. When an O-line is a team strength, continuity is usually a big part of it.

The Texans now need a starting right tackle, and their center (Myers) and right guard (Mike Brisiel) are on the eve of becoming free agents.

Houston fans are surely hoping news of new contracts is coming before then.

As for Winston, Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. said he could see him landing in Washington, Seattle, Miami or with the Jets.

"Winston came to THE U as a TE, but just kept growing," Williamson wrote me. "Before blowing out his knee, many considered him a truly elite LT prospect. He fell in the draft a bit after his injury, but remains long, athletic and very mobile. Perfect for the system he was in with the Texans, and I thought he had a very good year. I bet the Skins would kill to get him."


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(espn.com)
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Eric Winston visits troops in Afghanistan on NFL-USO Tour

EricWinston
Texans right tackle Eric Winston is visiting U.S. military troops in Afghanistan as part of the 2012 NFL-USO Tour.

Other players on the trip are Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack, former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones, Carolina Panthers punter Jason Baker and San Diego Chargers linebacker Takeo Spikes.

“It’s definitely great to see all the troops and everyone that’s over here defending our country and sacrificing so much so we can do whatever we want back home,” Winston said Tuesday via telephone from an undisclosed military base in Afghanistan. “It’s been real neat.”

Winston and the other players have been in the Middle East since Sunday morning, visiting multiple bases each day since. They stay at different bases each night and travel in Blackhawk helicopters and other military vehicles.

“Mostly it’s just meeting with guys, meeting with the troops and seeing people, trying to get to as many people as we can,” Winston said. “That’s what this is all about is seeing the guys and trying to take their mind off of everything – even if it’s a handshake or a five-minute conversation, talking to them about anything that they want to talk about, the football season, how the Texans did, where you think Peyton (Manning) is going to go. Whatever it might be, we hope that we might be able to take their mind off the hardships they’re going through out here.”

Winston joins head coach Gary Kubiak (2011) and linebacker Mario Williams (2009) as the latest member of the Texans to participate in an NFL-USO Tour. Over the course of the NFL and USO’s 45-year partnership, more than 200 active and former players and coaches have traveled to more than 20 countries.

After asking about doing the tour a couple years ago, Winston was thrilled to be selected this year.

“It’s something that’s very special,” Winston said. “These (troops) obviously are part of a family, and you can tell that they all treat other like that. It’s pretty neat to see.

“Honestly, meeting the guys and just getting a chance to talk to ’em whether it’s over some lunch or just meeting some of those officers out here, whatever it might be, everyone is just incredibly professional, incredibly dedicated. It’s really neat watching everyone work toward the same goal in whatever duty they might have.

“It blows your mind how well-constructed some of these bases are and how well laid out and all the hard work that had to go into building something like this in such a short period of time. It just goes to show you how talented the men and women of our services are. Seeing things from up close, going around and seeing the countryside and seeing kind of what the country’s like, it’s been a great learning experience for me.”

Winston has interacted with servicemen and women from the Houston area, and a good number of Texans fans, so far during the tour.

“I’ve met a lot of Fort Hood guys,” he said. “I met a Special Forces Marine that’s from Kingwood just yesterday. It’s been neat. You definitely get a big welcome, and you hear from them that they’ve been sitting up watching the games at 4 a.m. sometimes on a Monday morning to watch the noon games.

“Everyone’s pumped about last year, and everyone’s just excited as can be. A lot of these guys, they can’t stop telling you how much football means to them, how much they love watching the games. They all get up at 3 a.m. knowing that they might not sleep that much that night, but they’re willing to do it because they want to watch football. The passion they have for it and how big of a fans they are, it doesn’t stop just because they’re halfway around the world. They love it just like a typical fan, so it’s been neat being here and just being able to say hi to ‘em.”


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(thebustv.com)
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Season Review: Eric Winston

EricWinston
LT Eric Winston started each game for the Texans, the fifth straight season he achieved the feat. In his best season yet, Winston served as the primary protector of QBs Matt Schaub and rookie T.J. Yates and played a major role in helping the 10th highest-scoring team in the league.



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(cbssports.com)
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