When it comes to the Cleveland Browns' legends class for 2020, the team will induct two of its most prominent playmakers
On Thursday, the Browns announced that wide receiver Webster Slaughter and kick returner/receiver Joshua Cribbs will be honored as the latest members of their legends class. Both players will be celebrated with a halftime ceremony during Cleveland's Week 3 matchup with the Washington Redskins at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sept. 27.
“It is always special to spend time with and celebrate Browns alumni, and we are incredibly proud to recognize Webster Slaughter and Josh Cribbs – two of our team’s greats that are also exceptional men – as the newest Browns Legends members," said team owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam. "We deeply appreciate everything they, along with all of our alumni, have done for the Browns on the field and how they continue to contribute to our team and our community in meaningful ways.”
Selected in the second round of the 1986 draft, Slaughter served as one of Bernie Kosar's favorite targets during a six-year stint with the Browns. In that time, the San Diego State product amassed 305 receptions for 4,834 yards and 27 touchdowns, earning a Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in 1989.
“I will never forget my six years in Cleveland,” said Slaughter, who also spent time with the Houston Oilers, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets and San Diego Chargers before retiring following the 1998 season. “I played in other places but none of those places ever gave me the feeling that I had when I played for the Cleveland Browns. It was a different feeling and totally special.
“If I had to pick another team to play for, I would pick the Cleveland Browns. I couldn't pick another team. I had so much fun that I didn't know I was going to have. I met so many friends I didn't know I would meet. It was the most exciting set of fans to play for.”
Cribbs, meanwhile, arrived in Cleveland as an undrafted free agent ahead of the 2005 season. Following his standout career as a quarterback at Kent State, the Washington DC native converted to kick returner, ultimately becoming one of the best to ever do it in football history.
In his first season with the Browns, Cribbs set the team's franchise record for kick return yards with 1,094 -- a mark he would proceed to surpass five times over the course of his eight seasons with the team, in which he totaled 10,015 kick return yards and 8 kick return touchdowns -- an NFL record he shares with Leon Washington.
After spending a season apiece with the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts, Cribbs completed his 10-year career ranking third in NFL history in kick return yards (11,113). In addition to his kick return stats, Cribbs added 2,154 yards and 3 touchdowns on punt returns and tallied 110 receptions for 1,175 yards and 7 touchdowns, as well as 808 rushing yards and 2 scores on the ground.
A 3-time Pro Bowl selection, Cribbs was twice named first-team All-Pro and was chosen by the first-team kick returner on the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2000s. In 2019, he was nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, although he ultimately didn't advance past the first round of voting.
“I just tried to embody everything Browns fans stand for,” Cribbs said. “Cleveland is not as big as New York City or LA. We’re just a hard-working, football town, blue-collar to the core. I embodied what they stood for, having to start from nothing, undrafted, having to fight my way onto the team, having to be in a position lower on the team … They lived through me and every game and every time I would encounter a fan, they would tell a story of how bad they wanted us to win or a story of when they were at the game in the stands and they wanted me to win so bad.
“I hear all these stories and I used to take it to the field knowing the fans are rooting for me. I would take all that energy and it would boost me during the game.”