The Oakland Raiders signed free agent WR/KR Josh Cribbs on May 16, 2013, after he played eight seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Cribbs has over 10,000 kick return yards in his career and has returned eight kickoffs for touchdowns. He has also accumulated over 2,000 punt return yards.
Cribbs spent the off-season recuperating from a procedure on his knee, but stayed close to his coaches and teammates during Organized Team Activities and mini-camp in order to be prepared for his first training camp in Silver and Black.
The nine-year veteran couldn’t wait to get back on the practice field for training camp to prove himself as a receiver and a return specialist. His favorite part of camp, however, is bonding with his teammates. “Besides being able to play, proving myself, it’s just the camaraderie, seeing what this team is made of,” said Cribbs. “In training camp is where we’ll find our identity. Training camp is only a couple weeks and then we have a preseason game and that really dictates whether we’ll have a fast start or slow start. Are we hitting on all cylinders or is this going to be a long season? I’m anxious to see how we’re going to amount to as a football team.”
Cribbs might not know where the team stands just yet, but he knows who he is as a player. “Reckless, exciting, fun, never a dull moment,” said Cribbs. “Any time I’m on the field, I’m going to be talking. Every time I get a return, I’m trying to tackle, make every play, I’m amping everybody up. That’s what I’m going to bring to this football team. Spontaneity -- out of nowhere I’m going to try to make plays when there’s not a play to be made. I’m pushing guys to make plays. That’s what you can expect out of me. A fun-filled game – every time special teams is on the field, everybody is going to be like, ‘Cribbs is out there, 16 is out there. Let’s see what he’s going to do.’ That’s the type of player I want to put on the football field.”
Despite just now being able to participate in practice, Cribbs has been able to get to know his teammates, be a veteran voice in the receivers’ room and with the team as a whole, and get the guys pumped for the season. “I love it. I feel like everyone has a fresh start, new coaches, new offensive schemes and everyone is getting to know everybody for the first time and it’s a learning experience,” explained Cribbs. “As a veteran, I’m trying to build a lot of camaraderie, trying to be vocal, talking, starting little feuds between offense and defense, DBs and receivers, just to get the competition buzzing, getting everybody talking. It’s football. It’s all about competition. I start picking on guys and they start picking on me, just so we can get to know each other and have fun with the sport.”
The veteran receiver is using the team’s new iPad playbooks as one way to be a mentor to the younger players. “With the addition of these iPads we have for our playbooks, we’re able to send messages to each player. That’s basically what I’ve been using to communicate with players a lot, the ones I don’t know, the ones that are not in my position,” he said. “With the receivers, they come to me all the time for advice, game situation type stuff, like, ‘would that happen in a game even though it happened in practice?’ Being a little older than them, I’ve been there and done that, so a lot of guys, not just receivers, come to me for help, advise, situational experience, stuff like that.”
Cribbs is focused on helping the team win on the field, but he is also committed to community. “I take community service…that’s as important to me as on-the-field success,” said Cribbs. “It kind of walks hand-in-hand. Community service I take as important as my on-the-field as off-the-field. As a player, it’s a duty.”
Cribbs is also a self-proclaimed jack of all trades. And it sounds like he’s good at most anything he tries. “I produce music. I have kids; helping with their school,” said Cribbs. “I try to make my daughter play more sports because my son is too young. I bowl really well. I got good in the off-season being in Cleveland so long and having kids in school and not being able to travel as much. So I’m good in bowling because of that. I fish. I love to fish. I’m an avid fisher. I sing, produce, all that stuff.”
The wide receiver is looking forward to getting to know Raider Nation the way the Cleveland fan base got to know him. “I love [Raider Nation]. Raider Nation is, if not as big, bigger than what we had in Cleveland. The fans are really into it and it’s what I’m used to, even more. I knew about the whole Black Hole and everything that came with it and I’m excited about the whole tradition and history behind it.”
Cribbs is back in action at Raiders Training Camp 2013. Follow his progress and the rest of the men in Silver and Black on Raiders.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.