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Browns' Cribbs one of a kind

By Carlos "Big C" Holmes
Cox News Service

Cleveland Browns special-teams standout/wide receiver Josh Cribbs has often been compared to Washington Redskins WR Antwaan Randle El, and for obvious reasons. They both played quarterback in college, both were converted to the wide receiver position once they got to the pros, and both have been exceptional special-teams players while in the league.

Although the similarities are there, Cribbs, the second-year man out of Kent State, appeared determined when I talked to him in Browns camp to distance himself from the comparisons to Randle El.

Not that it's a bad thing, but Cribbs has other things on his mind, like making a name for himself and showing the rest of the league that he is indeed one of a kind.

High standards

With one year under his belt, Cribbs is primed and ready to make his presence felt and not just on special-teams.

"Everything is going good and I am right where I want to be," Cribbs said. "I'm rotating in amongst the starting receivers and look to set the standards high for myself this year."

Cribbs has high expectations for the season and appears to be a man on a mission.

"I'm a special-teams guru and look to dominate that even more this year," he said. "I want to set new standards and new high records there, and I'm looking for that third or fourth receiver spot going in.

"If one of the starters needs a breather I'm right in there. I don't want to miss a step. I don't want the coaches to feel like they have to call different plays because I'm in there. That's what I'm working on now, getting all the plays down."

Making it easier

Although Cribbs has been a special-teams stud and has shown lots of potential at the receiver position for the Browns, things have not been easy for the former quarterback who is making the transition to receiver.

"It's been a rough road with my fundamentals," Cribbs said. "I'm going against corners that have been doing it their whole life. These are pro corners and for me to just get out there and do it, it's been tough.

"But the quarterbacks have started to make it easy for me, the wide receivers are making it easy for me by giving me a lot of pointers, and I feel right now that I'm at the top of my game."

When asked how he would best describe himself as a player Cribbs wasn't shy.

"Just hard-nose," he said. "Do everything the coach tell me to do with the full ability of my body. I characterize myself as an athlete. I can do it all. I don't want to set any limits to myself because as soon as I set a limit that's when you start to fall off. I just want to reach for the stars."

There is no question what the driving force is behind Cribbs' determination to be an impact player and that is improving upon the numbers he posted a year ago in his first season with the Browns.

In 14 games as a rookie, Cribbs racked up 1,094 yards and one touchdown on kick returns. He averaged a modest 24.3 yards a return with a long of 90 yards.

Cribbs said he just wants the ball in his hands and he will take from there. His goal this year is to make the Pro-Bowl on special-teams.

The sky is the limit for Cribbs. He's an electrifying force on special-teams and a threat to go the distance whenever the ball is in his hands, which could translate into many happy returns for the team. Cribbs is definitely one to watch because he could turn out to be one of the league's brightest stars on special-teams. As he put it, he wants to be a legend.