Former Cleveland Browns star fails to make roster for Oakland after summer knee surgery, free to sign with any other NFL team

Tim Dorst

Josh Cribbs, former Kent State quarterback and Cleveland Browns kick-return specialist, was released from his contract with the Oakland Raiders on Sunday as part of their recent preseason cuts.

Cribbs, 29, had left knee surgery during the offseason and signed with the Raiders on May 15. The three-time Pro Bowler struggled to regain his speed in training camp and showed signs that his knee had not yet fully recovered.

The Raiders terminated Cribbs’ contract, originally a one-year deal, making him a free agent and allowing him to sign with any other NFL team.

Cribbs was the starting quarterback for Kent State from 2001 to 2004, compiling 10,839 total yards in four seasons with the Flashes. He finished his college career as Kent State’s all-time leader in passing yards with 7,169 — a mark just passed last season by Spencer Keith — before signing as an undrafted free agent with the Cleveland Browns in 2005.

In eight seasons with the Browns, Cribbs emerged as one of the best kick returners in the history of the NFL. In 2009, he set the NFL record for most career kick return touchdowns with eight and is tied for a league record with two kickoff return touchdowns of 100 yards or more in a single game.

The Browns re-signed Cribbs in 2010 to a three-year, $20 million contract after his Pro Bowl appearance in 2009. Nagging injuries and an NFL rule change on kickoffs visably slowed Cribbs during his last three seasons with the Browns, as he did not score a kick return touchdown during that span.

Cribbs met with several NFL teams prior to signing with the Raiders in May, including the New York Giants, the New York Jets and the Arizona Cardinals. He was reportedly close to signing a deal with the Cardinals, but team officials opted not to sign him because of concerns surrounding his surgically repaired knee.

Tim Dorst is the sports editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].