With free agency opening soon, it seems like the Cleveland Browns will not be using the services of Josh Cribbs anymore. The former Kent State Golden Flash is a free agent and the Browns look like they are moving on. With that, here is my final tribute to brown and orange fan favorite that wore the No. 16 proudly.
As an undrafted rookie free agent, Cribbs made the club in 2004. Because of being the quarterback of the area Golden Flashes, Cribbs was an instant fan favorite. Cribbs gave fans a highlight reel of film and never gave up. The rest is history.
Talking to Browns fans all over the state of Ohio, Cribbs was more than just a football player, he was a symbol of hope. The man with the dreads represented what it truly meant to be a Cleveland Brown. He gave these fans eight fun years and holds the NFL all-time record in kick returns for a touchdown record with eight. On two occasions last year, Cribbs could have boosted that number to ten.
While I have my own perception of Cribbs, I looked to other diehard fans for their memories. Karen Kapalko, a big time Browns fan told me, “He was the player for the fans. He always commented on how we felt”. Cribbs definitely was and is media friendly.
Perhaps one of the favorite things I heard had to with defying the odds. Brown and orange fan Christopher Landers told me, “This guy was an undrafted free agent, making the team on a hope and a prayer. He embodies the underdog mentality of this franchise”.
Some fans like Susie Moore of Dayton, OH feel that Cribbs can still play, saying “I love Cribbs. I believe he would still be productive to our team in the right setting”. Maybe, but we will probably never know.
No one will ever forget “The Immaculate Deception” against the hated rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Mike Mowery of Niles, OH described it well, “Josh got the ball at the goal line, scooped it up off the ground and returned it to the house. It was breathtaking and an amazing play. Unbelievable how he tight roped the sidelines and made electric moves in traffic in route to getting the TD. I was on the edge of my seat till the end.” This was one of those plays where you should remember exactly where you were when it happened.
But, like the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Fans like these are appreciative of Cribbs’ efforts and hard play, but they also realize it’s time to move on. Dawg Pound member, Dylan Oates summed it up saying, “It’s time to pass the torch to the young buck (Travis Benjamin)”. Many Browns fans are ready for “Ricky Bobby” to takeover returning duties.
Although there may be a slim chance of the new regime holding on to Cribbs, it is highly unlikely. So if this is goodbye, we Browns fans as a whole would like to thank JC16 for his contributions. Thank you for the 12,000 plus return yards we witnessed, all of the special teams tackles that you made because of hustle, representing Cleveland three times in the Pro Bowl, being on the NFL’s All Decade Team, the thousands of pictures taken and autographs signed, all of your charity work in town, and finally, thank you for being a Cleveland Brown.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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