CLEVELAND (AP) Pro Bowler Josh Cribbs believes it is “unlikely” he’ll play another game for the Cleveland Browns. Insulted by the Browns’ latest contract offer, Cribbs intends to clean out his locker.
“It’s unlikely the way they’re talking right now,” said Cribbs, stung by the team’s latest $1.4 million annual offer. “I’m hurt because I don’t want to play for nobody else. But the way they’re talking, they’re leaving me no choice.”
Cribbs, who sat courtside at Wednesday night’s Cleveland Cavaliers game, was the Browns’ most valuable and popular player this season. He played wide receiver, quarterback and returned and covered kickoffs and punts. The former college QB also set the NFL career record for most kickoff returns for touchdowns.
“The season is over, so I doubt they’ll take me seriously now,” Cribbs said. “That’s what I get for playing hard for my team. I don’t want to come off as greedy, I just want what’s fair. They’re going to do this to me?”
Agent Peter Schaffer said that the Browns failed to live up to previous promises they made to Cribbs. Schaffer said there is “no more middle ground” and that he is “extremely shocked” that new president Mike Holmgren would not understand Cribbs’ value to the Browns.
“I have tremendous respect for Mike Holmgren,” Schaffer said. “I know he knows how to put a team together. I was optimistic that with him coming aboard that he would understand and that Josh would be rewarded. To see there is no change in their position is insulting.”
Schaffer said he gave the Browns until the end of the business day to come up with a better deal than the $1.4 million per year they offered. Cribbs has three years remaining on a six-year, $6.77 million deal.
But Schaffer said Dawn Aponte, the team’s vice president of football administration who handles contract negotiations, did not get back to him. The Browns could be excused with more pressing issues since Holmgren just took over on Tuesday and is in the process of deciding whether to bring back coach Eric Mangini.
Cribbs said last month that the team had promised to give him a new contract by the end of the season. Even in the days leading up to Cleveland’s season finale against Jacksonville, Cribbs remained optimistic that something would get done.
“I did all the playing I’m going to play on this contract,” he said. “I ain’t doing nothing, I’m not showing my face until it’s right.”
Schaffer and Cribbs’ other agent, J.R. Rickert, said they did not want to take things public, but that the team left them no choice.
“He’s not playing there anymore after getting treated that way,” Rickert said in a text message.
On Tuesday, Holmgren said he had contact with Cribbs’ representatives when he was at home in Arizona. He intimated that he planned to take care of Cribbs, but only after fair negotiations.
“I believe players should be rewarded for what they do,” he said. “I have no problems with that at all. What happens though on occasion is our view of how much that should be and the agent’s view of how much that should be differs. We have made an effort.
“We will continue to make an effort to handle Josh’s situation. I want Josh here.”