Originally published on SBReport.net on May 9, 2013
Reports have surfaced that the Raiders brought in former Cleveland Browns wide receiver and kick return specialist Josh Cribbs on Monday.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Cribbs apparently passed a physical exam with his knee after receiving arthroscopic knee surgery during the offseason, prompting the Raiders front office to go as far as offering him a contract.
The 29-year-old veteran receiver had to have surgery after a torn meniscus suffered during the 2012 season.
The three-time Pro Bowler currently is tied for the NFL record for most career kickoff return touchdowns with eight, though he has not recorded one for the last three seasons. Even without returning one all the way, Cribbs had six 40+ yard returns and 65 20+ returns over the last two years. He averaged 27.4 yards per return last season.
The Raiders could use a boost in their return game as they struggled after return man Jacoby Ford went down with a lisfranc injury in preseason. The Raiders scrambled to find a new kickoff returner, using a total of five other players at the position and averaging just 22.3 yards a return.
Cribbs also handled punt return duties for the Browns and averaged 12.0 yards per return on 38 returns last season. The Raiders averaged not even half of that, at 5.1 yards per return on 34 attempts.
Cribbs did not have much of an impact at wide receiver last season, hauling in just seven receptions for 63 yards. His biggest year at receiver came in 2011 when he caught 41 passes for 518 yards and four touchdowns.
Though he isn't an elite receiver, he certainly is an elite return man when healthy. His experience would prove to be valuable in the Raiders locker room.
That, along with the ability to spell Ford of returning duties could be reasons for Reggie McKenzie to offer Cribbs a deal. The Raiders need Ford to stay healthy with the departure of Darrius Heyward-Bey and reducing the amount of hits he takes on the field could help.
Raider Nation and the Raiders will have to wait to see if they land Cribbs as Rapoport reports that he is still scheduled to visit three more teams after receiving the Raiders' offer.