BEREA, Ohio — Everything was looking up for Josh Cribbs.
Cribbs was coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2009. He signed the long-term multi-million dollar contract he was looking for. In 2010, he was to add more duties in the Wildcat offense with quarterback Seneca Wallace and Cribbs was going to play a vital role as a wide receiver.
From the beginning, it was apparent teams were not going to let Cribbs beat them, as they kicked away from him on punts and kickoffs. Then, he dislocated four toes against the Jets and has been hobbled ever since.
Cribbs admitted this has been a tough season.
“It has been humbling and mostly disappointing for me to not give these great fans what they deserve in my play from an individual and team standpoint,” Cribbs said. “I wanted to do so many great things this season. At this point, it's football and whatever I’m able to give, I’m going to give it my all every time.”
Cribbs is having his one of his worst seasons, statistically, on punt returns and kickoff returns. His career average on kickoff returns is 26.6 yards and 11.1 on punt returns. He has 32 kickoff returns for 665 yards (20.8) with a long of 36 yards. He has returned 17 punts for 140 yards (8.2) with a long of just 17 yards.
In 2009, Cribbs averaged 27.5 yards a return on kickoffs with three touchdowns on 56 returns for 1,542 yards. He also picked up 452 yards on 38 punt returns, including a 67-yard touchdown.
Cribbs came into the season with 10 returns for touchdowns (eight kickoffs, two punt returns) and has yet to return one for a score in 2010.
He should have his best season, in terms of receptions, as he has 19 receptions for 246 yards (12.9), including one touchdown. In 2009, Cribbs had 20 catches for 135 yards and a touchdown.
However, Cribbs’ production out of the wildcat has been way down. He has carried the ball just 17 times for 58 yards (3.4) with no touchdowns. In comparison, he had 55 carries for 381 yards (6.9) with a touchdown in 2009.
“He’s as healthy as he’s going to be,” Browns coach Eric Mangini said. “He has shown a good burst in practice and it only takes one (play to break one).
“I would love for him to have had the same production that he had last year. He’s trying to be as helpful and productive as he can. He has tremendous pride and he wants to have that next chance to make a play.”
Cribbs admits he’s limited.
“There are things that I realize I can’t do,” Cribbs said. “The coaches are trying to get me to do what I can do. It’s football. I could easily sit down and take care of myself for next year, but I can’t sit down.
“It’s football and I love it. Some of my teammates say, 'Man, you’re not good, you need to sit down.’
“I have a foot injury and I can go to work and earn the money I’m supposed to be making. People have to work for a living and there are people who have worse circumstances than me. The least I can do is go out and play.”
McCoy Back: QB Colt McCoy was back at practice Thursday after missing Wednesday with a ‘stomach flu’ according to Mangini. RB Peyton Hllis was also back at practice after resting his knee. LB Eric Alexander (groin) and TE Robert Royal (shoulder) missed Thursday’s practice.
“I feel good,” McCoy said. “Whether it was food poisoning or the flu, I had a lot of stomach problems. All my symptoms are gone and I feel strong.”
Cribbs, Steinbach Win Fan Vote: Kick returner Josh Cribbs and guard Eric Steinbach finished as the top vote getters for the Pro Bowl in the fan voting, which counts as one third in the total voting. Running back Peyton Hillis was third behind Arian Foster and Maurice-Jones Drew. The players and coaches voting was done this week and it expected to be announced next week on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
Moore, Fujita, Wright to IR: The Browns put three players on injured reserve this week including tight end Evan Moore, linebacker Scott Fujita and cornerback Eric Wright were placed on season-ending injured reserve. To replace them on the roster are defensive lineman Travis Ivey from the practice squad and free agent linebacker Steve Octavien. Ivey (6-4, 325) played at Maryland and was signed off the Dolphins’ practice squad. Octavien (6-0, 255) played with the Cowboys, mostly on special teams in 2008 and 2009 after playing at Nebraska.
Quaye Active: DL Ko Quaye was added to the active roster. Quaye (6-1, 305) was a rookie with the Bills from South Dakota. He will wear number 74.
Also, fullback Billy Clutts was added to the practice squad. The 6-2, 260-pounder most recently played in the UFL with the Sacramento Mountain Lions.