Josh Cribbs is in Oakland with a new chip on his shoulder
The-29-year-old Cribbs visited the Raiders’ headquarters last Monday and said that they were “high” on his list of teams. The Raiders haven’t yet officially announced the signing, but Cribbs and his agent John Rickert confirmed rumors of the deal on Twitter today.
Cribbs wrote on Twitter: "I am blessed to have the opportunity to prove myself yet again! Fresh start, New team, New chip on my shoulder!!!"
He also had visits with the New York Giants, New York Jets and Detroit Lions later in the past week. But there are still concerns about Cribbs’ health returning from arthroscopic surgery on his knee to repair a torn meniscus. The Arizona Cardinals were reportedly close to a deal with him earlier in the offseason but eventually backed out after he failed a physical. New York Jets general manager John Idzik said that Cribbs’ recovery isn’t “quite there yet” following the veteran free agents’ visit last week. Regardless, the Jets were always considered to be a longshot since the team has little spending power at this point in the offseason.
But the Raiders, who are seemingly doing whatever they can to bolster their special teams this offseason after a not so impressive performance from the unit last season, are convinced that Cribbs’ can still make a difference.
"I think Josh felt they could utilize his skillset the best, both as a returner and a receiver," said Cribbs’ agent John Rickert. "Josh was just really comfortable with the coaches and the opportunity. He views them as an upstart team that has a chance to compete in the division, and I think it's a great fit for everybody."
Cribbs, who was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Kent State in 2005, spent the past eight seasons with the Cleveland Browns mostly contributing on the special teams. He averaged 27.4 yards on kick returns as well as 12 yards per punt return, and caught seven passes for 63 yards last season but no touchdowns.
The three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro has averaged25.9 yards per kick returns and 11.1 average yards per punt return during his entire career. Cribbs’ eight kickoff returns for touchdowns are tied with New England Patriots wide receiver/ return specialist Leon Washington for for the most in league history. He also scored three touchdowns as a punt returner.
Cribbs has amassed 107 receptions for 1,161 yards with seven touchdowns, and ushed for 753 yards as well as two touchdowns on the offense for the Browns.
He is also expected to add competition for starter Jacoby Ford, who is sat out the 2012 season after suffering a Lisfranc injury in the preseason, and second-year receiver Denarius Moore as targets for Raiders’ new quarterback Matt Flynn.