Winslow fires back at Porter with some kindness
BEREA, Ohio -- Joey Porter may have changed jersey colors. His tone remains the same.
Miami's outspoken linebacker, who has waged a personal and sometimes profane battle against Browns tight end Kellen Winslow the past two years, renewed their feud earlier this week with more biting words.
"He's a receiver, really," Porter said. "He's not a tight end, because he's not going to block anybody. If you ask me who's going to win the Joey Porter-Kellen Winslow battle: Me."
On Thursday, Winslow shot back -- kindly.
"I think Joey Porter needs a hug," Winslow said, smiling. "He's so angry, man."
Last year while with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Porter exchanged insults, shoves and hard hits with Winslow. And Porter, who signed a five-year, $32 million free agent deal with the Dolphins in March, feels he got the better of his Cleveland counterpart.
"It really hasn't been a war," Porter said Wednesday. "It's been one-sided. I've never lost to him. It's like me picking on my little brother."
Aware of Porter's remarks, Winslow, who will see Porter on Sunday when the Browns host the Dolphins, counterpunched with some well-placed verbal jabs.
"I'm not into the individual-battle thing," he said. "It's a team thing. We're 2-3 and they're 0-5 and we're looking for a win. He doesn't have to worry about me. He should be worried about the team concept. They're 0-5 right now."
Winslow's comments were relayed Thursday to Porter.
"He is saying all the right things," Porter said. "Unlike me. I'm going to say how I feel.
"We are looking for our first win. The personal battle, he turned that down. We're going to cross paths sometime during the game. We will see each other."
Porter and Winslow first made acquaintances before last year's game in Cleveland when they jawed at each other during pregame warmups, a heated exchange that forced officials to step between them. It was a familiar tactic from Porter, who in 2004 had gotten into a pregame fight with Browns running back William Green, and was ejected before kickoff.
Although the Steelers rallied for 21 fourth-quarter points to win a year ago, Winslow flattened Porter with a vicious stiff-arm after catching a pass.
Three weeks later in Pittsburgh, Winslow attempted to shake Porter's hand before the game, a gesture Porter rejected. In the fourth quarter, Winslow drew the Steelers' ire with a late hit on linebacker James Farrior.
Following that game, Porter called Winslow a derogatory slur and was later fined $10,000 by the NFL.
Winslow expects Porter to fill his helmet with trash talk before this Sunday's game.
"I'm sure he will," he said. "The only reason I did that (offer the handshake) last year was to give our team some confidence and get them going a little bit. But again, I'm not worried about Joey.
"He's not even their best player."
A fiery player since college, Winslow, who has been playing with an injured shoulder, has done a better job of containing his emotions on the field this season. Browns coach Romeo Crennel said he isn't worried about the sight of Porter setting off Winslow.
"I don't think Kellen will get unhinged," Crennel said. "Kellen knows he has a job to do and he'll do his job to try and help this team."
Winslow still has moments when he appears on the verge of erupting. However, the 24-year-old, who missed nearly two full seasons with injuries, feels he's got himself better under control.
"You just learn from your mistakes," he said. "It's just maturing and knowing the game, knowing the business, how things work. I'm not really biting down on my tongue. I'm just learning from my mistakes and just growing up."
When Porter hit the free-agent market, there was a brief buzz about him signing with the Browns. It didn't happen, but Winslow briefly pondered the idea of playing alongside his nemesis.
"You know what?" Winslow said. "He would probably be a great teammate. But he's not on our team, so it doesn't really matter."