CLEVELAND -- Joshua Cribbs is returning to the Cleveland Browns. But rather than return kicks, the Kent State product is joining the Browns coaching staff as a special teams intern, the team announced on Thursday.
“They respected me enough to allow me to have the floor,” Cribbs told ClevelandBrowns.com. “I pride myself as a special teams guru.”
One of the most prolific kick returners in NFL history, Cribbs is Cleveland's all-time leader in kick return yards with 10,015 and touchdowns with 8. He ranks third all-time in league history with 11,113 kick return yards, while his 8 touchdown returns are tied with Leon Washington for the NFL record.
An undrafted free agent following a collegiate career at Kent State, where he played quarterback, Cribbs caught on as a rookie with the Browns in 2005 and served as the team's primary returner through 2012. He went on to finish his career appearing in six games apiece for the New York Jets (2013) and Indianapolis Colts (2014).
A 3-time Pro Bowl selection, Cribbs officially announced his retirement as a member of the Cleveland Browns last March. He now returns to the franchise where he was one of the team's most popular players following its return to the NFL in 1999.
“We had great dialogue and conversations and felt like it was best to do everything I could to provide him an opportunity to understand what coaching was, from the bottom up,” Browns head coach Hue Jackson said on the team website. “I wanted to do everything I could to put him in position where he could be successful. He was very open to it and we made a decision of, ‘let's start on the ground floor and work our way up.’
“His reputation precedes itself. He was one of the best return guys in pro football. Plus he's a Cleveland Brown. He's one of our own."