A Cleveland Browns podcast

Browns series: Top 10 best players since ’99; No. 7 Josh Cribbs

The Cleveland Browns returned to the playing field in 1999 after a brief three-year window when their original organization was moved to Baltimore after the conclusion of the 1995 season.

Since that move was made much of the current conversations revolve around what’s happened since 1999. The new Cleveland organization has had its problems over the last two decades with numerous coaching changes and over 30 quarterbacks trying their hand at leading the team.

While there have been issues, they’ve still put together some squads over the years that have played tough and even gotten into the postseason a time or two. Along the way, there have been numerous players that have shown true grit and dedication to being the very best.

We want to recognize those players in this series. Qualifying for being in the top 10 included playing for the Browns for three seasons or more. Several high-profile players have come through town over the years, but not many of them did much in their time with the Browns.

So, if you’re expecting to see Odell Beckham Jr. on this list you won’t. This list does include a couple of current players as well so we can point out their outstanding accomplishments already.

No. 7 all-time Cleveland Browns player since 1999- Josh Cribbs, KR, WR
Josh Cribbs did everything for his team during his time in Cleveland. Some even thought you could have put Cribbs on defense and he would have helped the poor Browns. The former quarterback from Kent State ended up returning kicks and punts and is only second in the record books to previous kick returner Cleveland legend Eric Metcalf.

Cribbs also caught passes and even played quarterback in the “wildcat” offense that was popular when he played from 2005 to 2012. The best part of Cribbs’s story was that he went undrafted and was a free agent signing after being invited to training camp.

In the special team department, he finished with three punt returns for touchdowns and eight kick returns for scores. His ability to spark his team with his spectacular runbacks was just part of what has made him so loved by the fan base and one of the best to ever wear the Cleveland uniform.

In 2009, he also ran the ball on offense 55 times for 381 yards and a touchdown. That year he was selected to the Pro Bowl.

By 2011, the Browns used him more as a wide receiver on the offense as he caught 41 passes for 518 yards and four touchdowns. In all, he was named to the Pro Bowl three times in 2007, 2009, and 2012. He also was named an Associated Press All-Pro in 2012.

My favorite Cribb’s memory was from the 2009 season when he literally won the game single-handedly against the Kansas City Chiefs out in Kansas City on a cold and blustery December afternoon. I was at Arrowhead Stadium that day as I used to live out in that area. Cribbs ran back two kickoff returns and had 269 yards on kickoff returns in all. He seemed to be everywhere that day as the Browns won 41-34.

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