Josh Cribbs is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in less than two weeks, and there’s a chance that could spell the end of his time in Cleveland after eight years with the Browns. Cribbs won’t rule anything out, and with a new regime in place he’d love to stay at a discounted rate, but he also seems to feel as though there’s a decent chance he is headed somewhere else.
Josh Cribbs joined Baskin and Phelps on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland to discuss his contract situation with the Browns, the new coaching staff, his feelings about his chances of re-signing, and his playing time. He also touched on quarterback Brandon Weeden.
On his contract situation:
“It’s at a standstill right now. I’m hearing a lot of different meetings are being scheduled with different teams and everything. My plan is to stay with the team as much as possible, even to take a slight paycut. But at the same time, not huge paycuts. And I’m trying to work with the team. I want to be a Brown. I want to end my career here. We have the coaches to do it now, to take it to the next level, and I definitely want to be there.”
On the new coaching staff:
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with those guys again. I worked with Coach Turner at the Pro Bowl a couple years ago and I definitely know that they can help me succeed and use me like I should be used. And hopefully we can get this contract thing worked out.”
On if he gets the sense that he’s wanted back:“I’m familiar with the coaching staff. … Norv Turner, he actually utilized me in the Pro Bowl, the first Pro Bowl. He ran a couple option plays for me and he’s excited to work with me. But ultimately we all know that it comes down to the upper management and the organization, and after the coaches voice their opinion it’s up to them. … So I’m not too confident in upper management because I’m not sure of their plans, their intentions. Right now, it doesn’t seem like the interest level is there with upper management, but there’s ways around that. I gotta just weigh my options. And like I said, I want to be a Brown. I want to continue my career here. I want to retire a Cleveland Brown, and that’s my intention. I’m gonna go as far as I can with the team to make a compromise. And at the same time, I won’t devalue myself. I know I haven’t been used to my potential and all of that, but I just want to be able to help this football team see a playoff and get to the playoffs and see what we can do in the postseason, because I think we’re so close. And I [would] just hate to have to leave a team right when we’re on the cusp of winning, right when we’re getting the pieces together to make this a winning organization. So that’s where we’re at right now.”
On being surprised that he wasn’t used in the offense as much this past season:
“I was the most surprised. I was like, ‘What happened?’ I’m like, ‘Did I not catch enough [last year]?’ I was the third wide receiver last year and ended up being the second-leading receiver on the team, and I think I led in touchdown receptions or something like that. But it just disappeared. I know how the business works. My thing with coaches and upper management — mostly with upper management — you draft guys and guys come in that’s new, they have to play. And it shouldn’t be this way. It should be the best guys that’s gonna help you win that play. But when you draft a guy or you spend money on a guy, that player has to play or the person who drafted him or the person who got him looks bad. And I wish it wasn’t like that because when I didn’t play this year on offense, I’m like, I was talking to Coach Shurmur every now and then like, ‘Hey man, I caught this many balls for you and I didn’t have any drops. What’s up?’ But I kind of got the feel that it wasn’t coming from him, like it was over his head. And it was unfortunate because that was my best year as a receiver. You used me as a receiver, I came through for you, and let’s go further. And that didn’t happen, and that was saddening for me. And I did not want to have to go through that again, but with this new coaching staff I’m so excited to be a part of it. And now that my contract is up, I’m like, ‘Wow, it might be coming to an end here in Cleveland.’ But I don’t want to see that day come. So I’m doing everything, using the back channels, trying to stay a Cleveland Brown.”
On Brandon Weeden’s up-and-down rookie season:
“I think you’re only as good as the play-calling [and] being put in the right position to make plays as a rookie. Each rookie that comes in, whether it be RG3 or Luck, they have plays that cater to their skills, their talents. The coaches put plays in that they like to run, and the offense is tailored to them. It works out different for us when you have a rookie quarterback, rookie receivers, a rookie running back, a rookie head coach. We had a lot of pieces that were just starting out and things that were having to mesh together. I think Brandon did an awesome job. Sometimes it might seem like it took him long to warm up for a game, he seemed like he didn’t get a rhythm, but that’s just because he’s a rookie. He just got out there. Maybe it came easier to other guys, but as far as his talent as a quarterback and his skill level, he is the guy. He has a great arm, he can read defenses well and I think that this second year will tell the tale of his skill level and how much he has grown since Season 1.”