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Steelers

Pitt's Ryan Winslow relieves parents' stress, signs with Bears

Jerry DiPaola
| Saturday, April 28, 2018, 8:48 p.m.
Pitt punter Ryan Winslow kicks during practice Thursday, April 13, 2017 at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt punter Ryan Winslow kicks during practice Thursday, April 13, 2017 at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

Ryan Winslow went golfing with some buddies. Shot an 86.

“Not bad for my first time out,” he said.

That was how Pitt's punter the past four years spent draft day Saturday. No, he wasn't drafted, and when he arrived home from the course, he met two nervous parents.

“It wasn't that stressful,” he said of his round of golf that served to take his mind off the process. “My parents were more tense than I was. But when I got home, it was a tense environment.”

It didn't take long for the Chicago Bears to break the tension. They offered Winslow a free agent contract and a chance to compete with veteran punter Pat O'Donnell.

Near the end of the seventh and final round, Winslow got calls of inquiries from four teams. When he wasn't drafted, he decided the Bears offered the best opportunity.

“It's a challenge and one that I'm up for,” said Winslow, who led the ACC in punting last season with a 44.5-yard average (11th in the nation).

Winslow was one of several Pitt players who signed free agent contracts after the draft:

• Kick returner and wide receiver Quadree Henderson, Steelers

• Guard Alex Officer, Oakland Raiders

• Tight end Matt Flanagan, Washington Redskins

• Wide receiver Jester Weah and offensive tackle Jaryd Jones-Smith, Houston Texans

• Offensive lineman Brandon Hodges has workouts scheduled with the Oakland Raiders and Steelers the next two weekends.

Elsewhere:• Slippery Rock defensive end Marcus Martin, the NCAA all-time career leader in sacks (56), signed with the Seattle Seahawks.

• Slippery Rock offensive lineman Ian Park of Upper St. Clair signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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