It's not often that Pro Bowl cornerback Antoine Winfield(notes) gets turned around with a fake, but Winfield feels burned in his contract negotiations with the Minnesota Vikings, according to a report in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
"I didn't expect to be in July without a deal," Winfield said. "Personally, I'm a little disappointed. They consider me a core player, but they're not showing me that."
Breaking his months-long silence, Winfield told the Pioneer Press he had been hearing privately the same positive comments team officials had been saying about him publicly. Winfield has avoided commenting on his contract status, but he felt compelled to speak after several statements from team officials. Most recently, at the team's first State of the Vikings meeting with season-ticket holders on June 17, player personnel vice president Rick Spielman said Winfield is "an important part of our defense" and that the club was going to do "everything we can to keep" him.
Winfield said Spielman's comments were "surprising," because team officials have had "very minimal" discussions with his agent Ashanti Webb, who did not respond to several interview requests from the Pioneer Press. Winfield said he still wants to get a deal done but has been disappointed by the slow pace of negotiations.