Cleveland Browns wide receiver and return man Joshua Cribbs joined Baskin & Phelps on 92.3 The Fan this afternoon for about 15 minutes to discuss his interest in returning to the Cleveland Browns, amidst his contract set to expire in March.
Cribbs stated that he would be willing to take a slight pay cut and reach a compromise with the Browns in order to finish his career here, but that he didn't feel the upper management was showing interest in him. That statement could have something to do with his agent, J.R. Rickert, who was scheduled to meet with the Browns at the NFL Combine. Here is some more of the context of Cribbs' comments, transcribed to the best of my abilities:
Q: "Josh, so you just said you want to be back, and that you're willing to negotiate on things a little bit. Do you get the sense from the coaching staff and the front office that they want you back?"
Cribbs: "I'm familiar with the coaching staff. I talked to Chud, he's very familiar with me and he's voiced that he can utilize me. Norv Turner actually utilized me in the Pro Bowl -- in the first Pro Bowl I made, he ran a couple of option plays for me. He's excited to work with me.
Ultimately, we all know that that it comes down to the upper management and the organization. After the coaches voice their opinion, it's left up to them for negotiations and everything. I'm not too confident in upper management because I'm not sure what their plans and their intentions are. Right now, it doesn't seem like the interest level is there with the upper management, but there's ways around that. I've got to just weight my options.
Like I said, I want to be a Brown and want to continue my career here and retire a Cleveland Brown. That's my intention and I'm going to go as far as I can with the team and meet them to make a compromise, and at the same time, I won't devalue myself. I know I haven't been really 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. I think we're so close and I just would hate to have to leave the team right when we're on the cusp of winning, right when we're getting the pieces together to make this a winning organization. That's where we're at right now."
You can listen to the full interview here.
Cribbs also said he was very surprised about Pat Shurmur giving him a lot of reps at receiver in 2011, only to pretty much cut him completely out of the offense in 2012. He said he understands the business -- when a team drafts a player, they are going to make sure they play, but that he wished it wasn't like that.
During the season, Cribbs said that he tried to lobby for more playing time with Shurmur, but that he felt like that decision "was over his head." That infers that someone else was pulling the strings -- my guess is that he was referring to Brad Childress. Really, who else could it have been?
The comment about upper management not showing interest in Cribbs is discouraging, because I'd really like him to be able to finish his career in Cleveland. However, we've been through one hectic contract situation involving Cribbs in Cleveland, so there's no reason to give up hope just yet. We'll know for sure in about two weeks when free agency kicks off.