Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 12/7/12
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." ------
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Who should perform at Super Bowl 51?
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Wentz unlikely to see any playing time this season

Minnesota Wild names Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ official goal song

Gabby Douglas joining judges for Miss America pageant

Recruit decommits from Michigan after mail mistake

Dez Bryant reportedly suffers concussion at practice

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Kobe Bryant to be honored with his own day in LA on 8/24

Colts sign Antonio Cromartie

Connor McDavid: 'I’m not some 18-year-old kid anymore'

Aguayo seeks out mental coach after missing kicks

Josh Norman unloads on Goodell: He is 'straight horrible'

Siemian named Broncos starter for third preseason game

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

Washington's Josh Norman speaks candidly about multiple NFL talking points

Derrick Rose: Knicks have chance to win every game

Ranking the MLB divisional races

Inside the Pokemon World Championships, where masters are born

NFL players under most pressure in preseason Week 3

Tre Mason's mother: RB is like '10-year-old' due to head injuries

What we learned from this year's baffling SummerSlam event

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

QUIZ: Name every player to win a championship with Kobe Bryant

Inside the Pokemon World Championships, where masters are born

What we learned from this year's baffling SummerSlam event

Football Down Under: Looking back at college football overseas

31 memories from the XXXI Olympiad

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker