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Josh Cribbs still a fan favorite for the Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Cribbs (16) returns a kickoff in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns Stadium. (Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

Josh Cribbs still a fan favorite for the Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND, (BVM) – Josh Cribbs is a Washington D.C. native with an impressive high school and college career, but he’s best known for his time with the Cleveland Browns.

Cribbs was a multifaceted, offensive threat in the NFL during the 2000s, so much so that he earned a spot on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s first team All-2000s team. From 2005 to 2012, Cribbs did a little bit of everything for the Browns, rushing, receiving, passing, even making tackles on special teams, but what he was best known for was his returning talents. 

Josh Cribbs Early Career 

Cribbs went to school at Dunbar High School in Washington D.C. where he lettered in basketball, baseball, swimming and football. As a quarterback for the Crimson Tide Cribbs led the team to the “Turkey Bowl” which is the championship game for the  District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association.

His play got the attention of colleges and when it came time to decide where to go Cribbs decided to play football at Kent State. He had other offers but the Golden Flashes were giving him a chance to play right away as a freshman.

Josh Cribbs Kent State University 

Cribbs earned the starting quarterback position for Kent State and as a freshman, threw for 1,516 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions while also rushing for another 1,019 yards and five touchdowns. His efforts helped the Golden Flashes to their first winning record since 1987. 

The next three seasons were also successful for Josh and he became known as a dangerous dual-threat quarterback in the Mid-American Conference. He finished his career at Kent State with 7,169 passing yards, 45 passing touchdowns and 3,670 rushing yards. 

However, even with the success he had as quarterback, Cribbs unfortunately was entering the NFL during a time when dual-threat quarterbacks were not wanted. He went undrafted but his talent was unmistakable and NFL teams were interested in giving him a chance. Cribbs was deciding between signing with Washington or with Cleveland, he chose the Browns. Similar to his reasoning behind choosing Kent State, the Browns offered him a chance to compete for a roster spot, while Washington wanted Cribbs to be on the practice squad.

With no guarantee of a spot on the roster, he went out and made it onto the Cleveland Browns roster but as a punt and kick returner, a position he didn’t even play in college.

Josh Cribbs Cleveland Browns and NFL Career 

As punt and kick returner for the Browns, Cribbs racked up 10,015 kick return yards, eight kick return touchdowns, three punt return touchdowns and 2,154 punt return yards. He is still Cleveland’s all-time leader in punt return yards, kick return yards and kick return touchdowns. Cribbs is only behind Eric Metcalf, another all-time great returner for the Browns, in punt return touchdowns. 

Cribbs’ best season for the Browns was by far the 2009 campaign. He was a first team All-Pro and a pro bowler that year racking up 1,992 total return yards and 2,510 all-purpose yards. That same year, he rushed for 381 yards, the most of his career, and one rushing touchdown. 

All of it culminated in arguably the best game of his career during the best season of his career. The Browns were visiting the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15 and Cribbs did his part to get Cleveland a 41-34 victory over KC. He had 269 yards off kick returns, including 100-yard and 103-yard kick return touchdowns and four punt returns for 36 yards.

His play that year earned him a three-year, $20 million contract in 2010 after Cribbs and the Browns had a dispute over his original contract. 

Following his time with the Browns, Josh finished his career playing for the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts. It was his time in Cleveland that meant the most to him. During his career, the Browns never made it to the playoffs but Cribbs was a positive note during a tough time for Browns fans. Cribbs was a fan favorite so much so that it left a lasting impression on him and he and his family still live in Cleveland because of it.

Josh Cribbs Post Football Career 

The Cribbs family doesn’t just  live in the Cleveland area but are pillars within the community. He and his wife Maria have a TV show called ‘Cribbs in Cle’ in which they focus on different things going on in the Cleveland area. Josh also has the TeamCribbs Foundation that helps shed light on other smaller nonprofit organizations. 

Along with his local TV show, Josh has appeared on other shows like ‘The League’, ‘The Bachelor’ and of course ‘Hot In Cleveland.’

He still has ties to his home town of Washington D.C. but Cleveland has become his home.

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