Cleveland (WOIO) - It's been a love affair that has lasted eight years. I won't call them blissful, because in that time, the Browns averaged 5 wins per year, but...clearly, Josh Cribbs loved and embraced the city of Cleveland, and the city of Cleveland loved and embraced him back.
How could you not? He was an undrafted long-shot out of Kent State, a versatile player who would not only do anything to get on the field, he sometimes preferred special teams. He'd take one to the house as a return man, then be the first one down the field to make the tackle on the following kickoff.
By the end of the 2009 season, Cribbs had taken eight kickoffs to the house in his career. Three years later, he's still at eight, because in 2011, they changed the game, moving the kicks up five yards, and leaving even the best return men, like Cribbs, in limbo. In addition, coaches have come and gone in Berea, but one thing remains the same: none have found a way to use Cribbs in a full-time offensive role. As a result, the numbers just aren't there, and the Browns are ready to move on.
It was a great run for Cribbs in Cleveland. He especially tortured the Steelers, including a memorable 100-yd kickoff return at Heinz Field in 2007, and a touchdown run out of the wildcat in sub-zero temperatures on a Thursday night in 2009 that effectively ended Pittsburgh's playoff chances.
For a few years, he was one of the two best return men in the game, along with Devin Hester. Browns fans saw it up close and personal. It was quite a ride.
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