Joshua Cribbs, an adopted son of Northeast Ohio after a quarterbacking career at Kent State and eight years with the Browns, has a new home on the West Coast.
Cribbs signed a one-year deal with the Oakland Raiders on Wednesday, his agent announced on Twitter.
“I am blessed to have the opportunity to prove myself yet again!” Cribbs tweeted. “Fresh start, New team, New chip on my shoulder!!!! Love u Cleveland but now it’s #catalinawinemixer 2013RaiderNation.”
Cribbs, an ace special teamer, became a free agent in March when his contract expired and the Browns, who are trying to build for the future, didn’t make an effort to re-sign him. Cribbs, who turns 30 next month, had surgery to repair knee cartilage after the season, which delayed his signing elsewhere.
He worked out for the Lions, Giants and Jets last week, according to nfl.com, and Jets general manger John Idzik told The Star-Ledger on Tuesday Cribbs’ left knee “isn’t quite there yet.”
Cribbs, who missed four games in eight years, told ESPN’s Josina Anderson he’ll use the doubts about his health as motivation.
“I feel great because I have another opportunity to prove everyone wrong,” he said. “The same way I got into this league and made my mark I have the opportunity to do it again with a fresh start with a new organization. So, yes, I have a chip on my shoulder to show I will have the same level of play this upcoming year.”
Cribbs was undrafted out of Kent in 2005, signed with the Browns and switched to special teamer/receiver. He made the Pro Bowl three times as a kick returner, including after last season.
Cribbs’ eight kickoff returns for touchdowns are tied for most in NFL history with Leon Washington. Cribbs also has three punt returns for touchdowns and became the sixth player in league history with 12,000 career return yards. He ranked fourth in kickoff return average (27.4 yards) and sixth in punt return average (12.0) in 2012.
Cribbs rubbed some people the wrong way with his outspokenness in the media through the years. Some comments were motivated by Cleveland’s constant losing, others by a lack of playing time at receiver.
The Raiders are coming off a 4-12 season and are expected to again be one of the league’s worst teams. But Cribbs should get more chances at receiver, in addition to his role as a kick returner.
Cribbs has 107 career catches for 1,161 yards and seven touchdowns. He’s rushed 128 times — most as a Wildcat quarterback — for 753 yards and two touchdowns. His role on offense decreased last season after posting career highs in 2011 with 41 catches for 518 yards and four touchdowns.
Cribbs tweeted a drawing of himself in Raiders’ silver and black, with the caption, “On my way!!!”
Receiver Travis Benjamin and cornerback Buster Skrine are among the options at kick returner for the Browns.