Found December 07, 2012 on Fox Sports Ohio:
Pittsburgh_steelers_v_7344
BEREA, Ohio (AP) -- Kickoffs have defined Josh Cribbs' career in the NFL, and made him an invaluable weapon for the Cleveland Browns. So the thought of the league abolishing the exciting play irritates the return specialist. "They need to call it a different league if they do that," Cribbs said. "It'll change the game drastically." Earlier this week, Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league's competition committee will consider eliminating kickoffs in the offseason. In an effort to reduce head injuries and protect players, the league previously moved the kickoff from the 30 to 35-yard line to cut down on violent collisions. Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano has suggested that instead of kickoffs, teams would have the option of punting from the 30-yard line and going for a first down in a fourth-and-15 situation. While he coached at Rutgers, Schiano witnessed one of his players, Eric LeGrand, get paralyzed on a kickoff in 2010. Goodell has called Schiano's idea "interesting." Browns kicker Phil Dawson believes it's illogical. "I'm all for player safety," said Dawson, in his 14th season with Cleveland. "I do think the NFL has done a good job in the past -- like with the wedge rule. This suggestion doesn't add up. It doesn't address what they say the dangers are because punts are just as violent. There aren't going to be any touchbacks. How many times have you seen a punt returner waiting for the ball to come down and the gunner just kills him? "It doesn't make sense to me." Cribbs, who shares the league record (8) for kickoff return touchdowns with Seattle's Leon Washington, can't envision the game he has played since he was a kid not having kickoffs. "I couldn't ever see that," said Cribbs, sixth on the career kickoff yardage list. "That's like taking the goal post out of the stadium, taking the whole post and uprooting it. Only play offense and defense, just like intramurals. Then play indoors and put flags in our pants." Dawson believes recent rules changes like banning the blocking wedge, moving the kickoff up five yards and limiting the number of players that can line up on one side of the ball for an onside kick, have lessened the number of violent collisions in games. However, there are plenty of other plays when hard hits are common. He cited punts as a prime example. "When the ball is 50 yards down the field, guys are running full speed and you get a lot of cross blocks and guys getting knocked out," Dawson said. "I still wouldn't say it's any more dangerous than any other play. I watch wide receivers get concussions each and every week in the NFL, yet we're going to pick on kickoffs? That doesn't add up to me." Dawson said taking away the kickoff -- and it's only a suggestion at this point -- would also remove other elements that help make pro football special. "There is so much scheming, personnel matchups, strategy that goes into each and every kickoff that people will never understand," he said. "All they see is a guy run and kick the ball. But there's a lot that goes into it and it would be a shame to see that much thought be removed from the game. "And hey, I'm probably someone who would benefit from this rule, so I don't have a vested interest. I'm known as a field-goal guy, so if anything it would help me, so I'm not saying this because I'm mad, I'm a kicker and I'm going to lose. I don't think this suggestion makes sense." The argument that taking away kickoffs would cost players jobs isn't a sound one, Dawson said. Most teams use the same players to cover punts and kickoffs and only two teams have kickoff specialists. For both Cribbs and Dawson, the kickoff is as much a part of pro football as the handoff or forward pass. It is engrained in the sport's deepest roots. "From when I was a little kid I dreamed about having the opening kickoff in the Super Bowl and all the flashbulbs go off," he said. "I want to be that guy. There's so much that can be accomplished on that play for both sides. To think a guy like Josh Cribbs wouldn't have the opportunity to have the career he's had because of all the excitement he's brought the game. "I can remember Desmond Howard returning a kick for a touchdown in the Super Bowl and what a game-changing play that was." Cribbs also applauds the NFL's efforts to make the game safer, but thinks it's becoming too muted. Stripping away the kickoff would make things worse. "It's getting to be too much of an entertainment business instead of a sport," he said. "I know it's a sport and entertainment and there's a lot of revenue involved, but it'd be straight entertainment and no sports. We won't even be on NFL Network, we'll be on MTV. "It'd be a made-up sport." ------ NOTES: Browns P Reggie Hodges was named the club's Ed Block Courage Award winner, given to the player who exemplifies courage, compassion, commitment and community service. Hodges came back after sustaining a season-ending Achilles injury in 2011. He went on a mission to Jamaica during the offseason, bringing shoes and supplies to underprivileged children. "He's a great locker room guy and a great guy in the community," Dawson of his teammate. "He certainly deserves that award." ... The Browns did not have a single player listed as "questionable," "doubtful" or "out" on their injury report. They had 10 players listed as "probable." ------
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Peyton Hillis: Joe Thomas is a like a "crazy ex-girlfriend"

Kansas City Chiefs running back Peyton Hillis shot back at his former teammate, tackle Joe Thomas, who in a lenghty tirade, blasted Hillis for susposedly selling out on his team in his pursuit for a new contract. In a nutshell, Thomas accused Hillis of not always play hard during his time in Cleveland, while creating a "toxic" environment in the locker room by thinking...

Browns GM Tom Heckert May Stay On After Season

Browns GM Tom Heckert has a chance to stay as the team’s GM after the season, per Fox. Rumors abound as to whether or not Michael Lombardi will take Heckert’s job. “There’s really not a lot of substance to the conversation,” Lombardi said. “There’s just a lot of rumors and innuendos. There’s really nothing to it.” Heckert was part of the staff that drafted key contributors...

Joe Thomas’ Peyton Hillis comments just felt like the truth

I was glancing through the headlines yesterday and today of all the places covering Joe Thomas’ comments on Peyton Hillis and something just didn’t sit right with me. ESPN said Joe Thomas “blasts” Peyton Hillis. Dawgs By Nature said that Thomas “Rips Into” Peyton Hillis. ESPN Cleveland said Thomas “tees off” on Peyton Hillis. This is not to criticize any of these...

How Much Bad Blood Is There For The Peyton Hillis Return To Cleveland Browns Stadium Sunday?

Browns all pro Line-Man Joe Thomas and the Kansas City Chiefs running back Peyton Hillis have taken turns exchanging jabs through the Media this week. Neither guy had kind words to exchange towards each other. Thomas said Hillis was toxic in the Browns locker room and on the field and the team and the players didn’t want him here and Hillis said Thomas is acting like an old girlfriend...

Sources: Browns GM story not how it may appear

BEREA -- Tom Heckerts future as General Manager of the Cleveland Browns could rest on whether he will have final say regarding the roster. Thats the word from several NFL insiders contacted in light of the recent reports that the Browns would bring in Mike Lombardi as GM, a move the insiders called not nearly as likely as its been portrayed. It seems possible Heckert could stay...

Should Heckert Stay or Go?

Greetham dissects the Tom Heckert tenure as Browns GM and comes to a conclusion on what the Browns should do with Heckert moving forward.

Quinn vs. Weeden: Jaws’ 29th and 30th ranked QB’s

ESPN’s Ron Jaworski has Chief’s Brady Quinn and Browns Brandon Weeden ranked 29th and 30th of his quarterback rankings. Both Quinn and Weeden are coming off career days in which Weeden threw for 364 yards and Quinn completed 19 of 23 for 201 yards and a touchdown.

Cleveland Browns: Week 14 NFL Power Rankings (#25)

Last week: 24 (-1) Record: 4-8 Net points per drive: -0.15 (20th) DVOA: -13.6% (26th) Weighted DVOA: -10.0% (24th) Studs LT Joe Thomas: Allowed 1 quarterback hit on 38 pass block snaps WR Josh Gordon: Caught 6 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown on 7 attempts on 35 pass snaps, 5.7 YAC per catch, 1 interception when thrown to CB Sheldon Brown: Allowed 5 catches for 54 yards on 13...

Hillis on Browns' Thomas: 'Crazy ex-girlfriend'

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Peyton Hillis lashed back at former teammate Joe Thomas on Thursday, comparing the Browns' offensive tackle to a "crazy ex-girlfriend" after he made disparaging comments about the Kansas City Chiefs running back. Thomas told reporters in Cleveland on Wednesday that Hillis didn't always play hard during his time with the Browns. He also accused...

Chiefs' Hillis reacts tersely to Browns' Thomas

Chiefs running back Peyton Hillis responded tersely to comments by former teammate Joe Thomas, likening him to a ''crazy ex-girlfriend'' who won't move on. Thomas, the Browns' offensive tackle, said Wednesday that Hillis didn't always play hard during his time in Cleveland. He referred to Hillis as ''toxic'' and accused him of putting...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.