New England Patriots release Kellen Winslow Jr.

Mike Reiss and Adam Schefter have reported that the New England Patriots released Kellen Winslor Jr. after the veteran tight end requested a release from the team. Winslow was signed by the Pats last week after Aaron Hernandez was ruled out for four to six weeks with a low ankle sprain.

This leads to speculation that Hernandez is healing quicker than expected, but, more importantly, it means that Winslow’s career could be coming to a close. He probably requested a release because of knee issues, as he has been plagued with knee injuries throughout his career. That has likely gotten worse with age, and it has stopped a productive pass-catcher from being a decent replacement in the interim for the Pats.

Wide receiver Julian Edelman has not practiced for the past two days, which leaves his status in doubt for next week’s game against the Buffalo Bills. If he is not able to play, it means veteran Deion Branch will be receiving a steady dose of targets going his way with the cut of Winslow and the potential absence of Edelman. That’s going to test the Pats depth a little bit, and it will be interesting to see if Daniel Fells can come back and be the No. 2 TE in the short-term.

The Pats could also activate Visanthe Shiancoe from the IR, but it seems like Hernandez might be on his way back sooner than some think. It’s surprising to see that Winslow has requested his own release, and it could mean that he is retiring or needs to take some time off because of knee issues. If it’s neither of those, then the reason should be an interesting one. It’s not too often that an older TE asks for a release after being cut by two different teams in the offseason.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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