Found May 21, 2012 on Pro Football Zone:
PLAYERS: Josh Cribbs
TEAMS: Cleveland Browns

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The new rule changing kickoffs from the 30 yard line to the 35 yard line was designed to help players and diminish their risk of getting seriously injured. Unfortunately for some players, such as in the case of Cleveland Browns’ Josh Cribbs, it is also diminishing their on field value. And it is for that very reason 2012 may be his last season as a Brown.

Josh Cribbs has a specialty that no longer has a place in the NFL: running kickoffs back for big yardage gains and touchdowns. Cribbs does it better than anybody – his league record of 8 career kickoff returns for touchdowns has been in place since 2009 – but thanks to an evolving football culture that errs on the side of caution now more than ever, it appears as though he will have very few chances to ever improve on that record or the Brown’s franchise record he holds for most kickoff return yards. Most often now kickoffs end in touchbacks and, even if they don’t, coverage teams get down to the receiver much faster due to their new 5 yard head start.

Now Cribbs is still a great punt returner, but his numbers regarding punts do not command the salary his numbers regarding kickoff returns did. So while he still has a lot to bring to the Browns’ organization he will have to be willing to bring it for a significantly lower price than the $1,438,00.00 he will make this season, the final season of his contract. Whether he will be willing to do that or if the Browns’ decide they will even need him to do that remains to be seen.


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