Should the opportunity present itself after a touchdown, kick returner Josh Cribbs and running back Trent Richardson intend to jump into the front-row, end-zone home of rabid Browns fans when the Colts visit Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday.
Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and safety Mike Adams say they’ll pass on getting reacquainted.
Colts fans are just hopeful their team reaches the end zone with frequency, regardless of the player or celebration.
Cribbs still has a house in the Cleveland area. He was training there and being used as an NFL TV analyst on the Browns when the Colts called to sign him two weeks ago. The three-time Pro Bowl returner with the Browns, who had 11 career return touchdowns and was a franchise all-time leader in most return categories, was so excited about getting another NFL opportunity, he drove to Indianapolis.
“I received a lot of positive feedback on social media from the people in Cleveland and the community,” Cribbs said Wednesday on a conference call with Cleveland media. “They didn’t care where I went. They were going to still support me. That’s what I’m hoping for.
“You will definitely see me in the stadium hugging fans, and if I had the opportunity to score I would jump in the Dawg Pound to honor those guys who helped create me. They helped give me the strength and the motivation to become what I am today.”
Cribbs, who played for the Browns from 2005 to 2012, was asked if he’s sure fans would welcome him to the Dawg Pound, historically regarded as one of the more intense sections in the NFL.
“I’m not sure,” he said. “I’m hoping. We have a lot of good memories. I’m trying to get the OK from those members of the Dawg Pound beforehand. I’ll mosey over there and try to scope out the scene.”
Richardson would undoubtedly welcome a warm greeting after the underachieving back with a 3.3-yard-per-carry average heard boos at Lucas Oil Stadium last Sunday.
“Oh yeah, that’s the first thing. I get in that end zone, I get that touchdown, I’m going to go jump in the Dawg Pound,” he said. “I know I’ve still got some true fans out there somewhere and I know they still love me.”
Richardson was drafted No. 3 overall by the Browns in 2012, but was traded to Indianapolis two games into the 2013 season for a 2014 first-round draft pick.
He expressed gratitude for the Browns selecting him so high, but added, “they gave up on me” and he’s “going into this game like it’s my last one.”
Richardson said Jackson, a Browns leader from 2006 to 2013, deserves to visit the Dawg Pound after what he contributed to the franchise, including an NFL-best 158 tackles in 2011 and AFC-best 154 stops in 2008.
“I’ll tell you this, if I ever make a play and I’m in the end zone I’m definitely not jumping in the Dawg Pound,” said Jackson, who has a team-high 101 tackles. “I can guarantee that, but Josh, he spent a lot of time in that Dawg Pound returning kicks and punts and all that, I don’t know what type of reception he’ll get, but you can figure what type of reception he would get if he jumped in there. For me personally, I wouldn’t go down that route.”
Neither will Adams, an 11th-year pro who played for the Browns from 2007 to 2011.
“I’m with D’Qwell,” the safety said. “I don’t think that would be a good idea. We know how those fans are. They’re serious about their Dawg Pound.”
When told Cribbs and Richardson say they would take that jump, Adams said, “They better not. (Laughs.) I remember Chad Ochocinco said he was going to jump in the Dawg Pound, and he got a head full of beer.”
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.