Josh Cribbs has displayed an undeniable talent for returning kicks in the NFL, but is the three-time Pro Bowl star healthy?
That he signed with the Indianapolis Colts Tuesday suggests they were convinced enough to take a chance.
Bradshaw, the team’s leading rusher, suffered a fractured left fibula in Sunday night’s home loss to New England.
Cribbs, 31, set an NFL record with eight career kickoff returns for touchdowns, and he also scored on three punt returns while with the Cleveland Browns from 2005 to 2012.
But the Browns waived him after 2012, when he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus. He signed with Oakland but his release at the end of 2013 preseason was attributed to lingering knee issues.
A six-game stint with the New York Jets in 2013 ended when he suffered a shoulder injury in Week 13 and was placed on injured reserve.
That Cribbs hasn’t found an NFL job until later in this season is somewhat curious.
The Colts are 23rd in punt returns with a 7.2-yard average and 11th in kickoff returns at 24.1 yards. Wide receiver Griff Whalen has been used most of the time, although he’s lost two fumbles. Second-year running back Dan Herron returned two kickoffs for 53 yards in Sunday night’s 42-20 home loss to New England.
In 130 career games, Cribbs has averaged 25.8 yards on 407 kickoff returns and 11.1 yards on 203 punt returns.
He’s also caught 109 passes for 1,167 yards and seven touchdowns. His best season as a pass catcher came in 2011, when he had 41 receptions for 518 yards and four scores.
Undrafted as a quarterback out of Kent State, Cribbs set numerous franchise records for returns with the Browns, including career kickoff yards (8,837), combined kickoff and punt yards (10,534) and all-purpose yards (12,343). His 11 career return scores are also a Browns record. He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2007, 2009 and 2012.
Cribbs is reunited three former Browns teammates in the Colts locker room, linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, running back Trent Richardson and safety Mike Adams, as well as former Browns head coach and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, who was hired in February as special assistant to Colts head coach Chuck Pagano.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.