According to FoxSports Ohio’s Zac Jackson, the Indianapolis Colts plan on signing Kick Returner Josh Cribbs to help bolster their kick return game. Now age 31, Cribbs was once one of the most explosive returnman in NFL history with the Cleveland Browns. In fact, he’s tied for 1st in NFL History with 8 career kick return touchdowns, sharing that record with the Tennessee Titans’ Leon Washington. It’s also worth noting that he’s 3rd in NFL history in kick return yardage with 10,505 kick return yards under his belt, having had a decorated kick return career to say the least.
Cribbs had worked out with the Colts last weekend, but left without a contract.
Dec 16, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Cribbs (16) during a game against the Washington Redskins at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Washington won 38-21. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Griff Whalen has had a solid, yet unspectacular season as a kick returner, ranking 13th at 25.3 yards per return. However, the special teams return game has experienced more hiccups in recent weeks, almost botching a kick return on Sunday night and getting a safety against the Patriots. It may have been the last straw, as GM Ryan Grigson is now reportedly planning on signing one of the NFL’s all-time great special teams returnman.
The team has also tried Dan “Boom” Herron in a return role, but with Ahmad Bradshaw now out indefinitely, he’ll likely be called upon more in the running game and can’t afford to be injured returning kicks. He’s now presumably elevated to the #2 running back spot on the depth chart behind Trent Richardson.
Cribbs may not be the dynamic returnman he once was because of age and injury. Still, if he can successfully field kick returns and take the ball out of the end zone when appropriate with some explosion, he figures to be an upgrade at the position. At the very least, he’ll spare the Colts for some of the “adventures” they’ve had in recent weeks in their kick return game. He’s also reportedly a very good special teams “gunner”, indicating that he may be an asset to the Colts’ special teams unit all-around.
UPDATE: According to ProFootballTalk, Josh Cribbs has indeed been signed by the Indianapolis Colts (12:00 PM)