Jump to content

Why Josh Cribbs Is the Cleveland Browns' "Player of the Decade"


Recommended Posts



Why Josh Cribbs Is the Cleveland Browns' "Player of the Decade" by Daniel Wolf

Daniel Wolf

Featured Columnist


162 articles written

1586 comments written

52 fans

View Profile



Written on December 21, 2009

Jamie Squire/Getty Images Josh Cribbs is hands-down the Cleveland Browns' Player of the Decade.


Is there really any disputing this claim?


Maybe, but it would be a very tough debate to prove otherwise.


Cribbs' story is all too familiar with most every Browns fan, but for those who do not know his story, it is one of a big heart, a team-first mentality, and a work ethic that challenges even the best NFL players in the league.


A running quarterback at Kent State University, which is located approximately 45 minutes southeast of Cleveland, Cribbs set a NCAA record by becoming the first true freshman quarterback to ever rush and pass for over 1,000 yards in the same season (Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards has also accomplished this feat in 2006, becoming the second player ever to do it).


He is also one of only five players in NCAA history to ever rush and pass for over 1,000 yards in two collegiate seasons during a players career.


Further, Cribbs is one of only four players in NCAA history to rush for over 3,500 yards and pass for over 7,000 yards in a career.


Finally, in a very unknown but historic college career, Cribbs is the only player in the history of the NCAA who has ever led his team in both passing and rushing yards every year of his college career.


After his senior year, Cribbs moved forward in his attempt to get into the NFL via the 2005 NFL Draft.


Unfortunately, Cribbs was not drafted by anyone, and he was invited to the Browns training camp before the 2005 preseason began.


Cribbs knew that he would not be able to become a quarterback, so he was willing to switch positions to become a wide receiver since he has great vision and speed.


As training camp progressed, Cribbs raised many eyebrows and, by the time the regular season began, was the kickoff returner on opening day of the regular season.


After a very successful rookie year that saw Cribbs almost exclusively returning kickoffs (one for a touchdown versus the Lions), he was given a long-term contract for six years in the beginning of 2006.


In 2006, Cribbs continued his kick return duties (two more returns for touchdowns), and even though fellow teammate Dennis Northcutt was the punt returner, Cribbs was tested as a punt returner several time with some success. A franchise record was set in 2006 by Cribbs for most return yards in a season.


The following year, the Browns decided that Northcutt was no longer a part of their plans and told Cribbs that he was not only going to return kicks, but he was to take over punt returns since Northcutt would not be rejoining the team in 2007.


Cribbs literally ran with both return duties and not only returned a punt for a touchdown, but he took back two more kickoffs for touchdowns too.


In 2007, Cribbs was named to the Pro Bowl team as the return specialist.


As 2008 came, Cribbs' role was expanded because of his powerful and explosive running style and he became the Browns' WildDawg formation quarterback, which was fitting since he was a quarterback in college.


Cribbs returned another kickoff for a score in 2008, giving him a kick return for a touchdown in each of his first four seasons.


He also ran for 167 yards with one touchdown and caught his first receiving touchdown too.


With his expanded role, Cribbs and his agent realized that he was outplaying his contract extension he signed in 2006 and began asking the Browns to renegotiate, but current Browns general manager Phil Savage said he needed Cribbs to play through the 2008 season and then he would get a new deal in the offseason.


Tragedy stuck, though—with the Browns having a very bad season following their near playoff appearance in 2007, where they were the Cinderella team of the year at 10-6, Savage was fired by Browns owner Rander Lerner.


As Lerner replaced his front office and coaching staff in 2009, Cribbs was still asking for a new deal that was promised by the old regime, but the new regime of general manager George Kokinis and head coach Eric Mangini were playing hard ball and said that Cribbs would once again have to play through the 2009 season before they could look at giving him a new deal.


Going into training camp, Cribbs threatened to hold out and he even threatened to boycott the 2009 regular season once it began.


Being a player who has a tremendously huge heart and is the definition of a team player, Cribbs once again put his differences aside and played the regular season—and, boy...what a regular season Cribbs has had.


Not only being the main offensive weapon on a team that is rebuilding for the future, but Cribbs has single-handily taken over many games to—if not win the game—at the very least keep the Browns in the game competitively.


Cribbs' two most recent games, against the Steelers (where he had over 80 yards rushing and over 200 total yards) and Chiefs (two kick returns for a touchdown), are proof positive that he is undoubtedly the Cleveland Browns' "Player of the Decade," not only due to his talent but to his nature to put aside contract disputes and play for his team, then fans, and himself.


A case could be made the Cribbs could be the "Most Unselfish Player in the NFL," because his competitive spirit would rather help his team, his fans, and his city rather than help himself financially.


His agent might not be happy with Cribbs' disregard to holding out for more money, but, in the end, Cribbs having a heart of gold will bring both of them more money than they could have even imagined six months ago.


In closing, congrats to you, Josh Cribbs, for breaking the NFL's all-time record for most kick returns for a touchdown in a career!


You deserve it!



as a side note from me, Give Quinn and Mangina a chance! I think we have some pretty good blocks in place. Let's build on them! OH yeah and Vickers = bulldog! What a beast! We love you Mr. Vickers!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...