In what was a out of nowhere story, former Browns wide receiver/kick and punt returner Josh Cribbs officially announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday, and he did so as a member of the Cleveland Browns.
Cribbs played ten seasons in the NFL, eight with the Browns from 2005 to 2012.
After playing quarterback for four years at Kent State setting multiple records, Cribbs went undrafted in the 2005 NFL Draft. He signed with the Browns and became the team’s return specialist.
He then became one of the greatest kick and punt return men in NFL history. Here’s his career accolades
- Three Pro Bowl selections (2007, 2009, 2012)
- 2009 1st Team All Pro
- 8 kickoff return touchdowns (tied for most in NFL history)
- 11,113 kickoff return yards (3rd in NFL history)
- 13,488 total return yards (tied for 3rd in NFL history)
- 11 total Non-Offensive touchdowns
- 1st Team 2000s All Decade Team
He’s one of the greatest Cleveland Browns of all time and is right there in consideration for one of the best players to play for the Browns since the team’s return in 1999.
Now besides just returning kicks and punts, Cribbs was utilized on offense as a wide receiver and as a “Wildcat” option when that offense was at it’s peak in the NFL.
His best season as a receiver was in 2011 when he caught 41 passes for 518 yards and four touchdowns. Throughout his career he caught 110 passes for 1,175 yards and seven touchdowns.
Of course in 2009, the Browns and Cribbs were in negotiations to restructure his contract. He was being utilized a lot more and thought he should get a higher salary for his services.
Negotiations got so bad that it got to the point where he cleaned out his locker because he thought it was the end of his run in Cleveland.
The fan base was outraged and took to the media and started the “Pay The Man” campaign to get the organization to keep Cribbs.
It paid off for the fans and Cribbs as he got a three year, $20 million dollar contract with the Browns.
When Joe Banner and Michael Lombardi came to the organization in 2012/2013, they didn’t make Cribbs a priority as he was entering his 30s and was slowing down and elected to not resign him.
He made final stops with the Jets in 2013 and the Colts in 2014.
I thought it was a classy and the right thing to do by letting Cribbs retire as a member of the Browns, he was and still is one of the few bright spots this organization has had in it’s 18 years of existence as a expansion franchise.
His dynamic, electric playmaking ability helped keep the Browns in games when it was tough to score points offensively.
Whether it was unbelievable return against Pittsburgh in 2007
Or his record breaking performance against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009 where he took two 100+ yard kickoff returns for touchdowns to set and extend an NFL record.
I know teams don’t retire numbers anymore, they now have the “Ring of Honor”, I think it’s time this coming season for Cribbs to take his rightful spot in the Browns “Ring of Honor”.