User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Browns' Cribbs not in favor of banning kickoffs

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Kickoffs have defined Josh Cribbs' career in the NFL, and made him an invaluable weapon for the Cleveland Browns.

Advertisement
So the thought of the league abolishing the exciting play irritates the return specialist.

``They need to call it a different league if they do that,'' Cribbs said. ``It'll change the game drastically.''

Earlier this week, Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league's competition committee will consider eliminating kickoffs in the offseason. In an effort to reduce head injuries and protect players, the league previously moved the kickoff from the 30 to 35-yard line to cut down on violent collisions.

Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano has suggested that instead of kickoffs, teams would have the option of punting from the 30-yard line and going for a first down in a fourth-and-15 situation. While he coached at Rutgers, Schiano witnessed one of his players, Eric LeGrand, get paralyzed on a kickoff in 2010.

Goodell has called Schiano's idea ``interesting.''

Browns kicker Phil Dawson believes it's illogical.

``I'm all for player safety,'' said Dawson, in his 14th season with Cleveland. ``I do think the NFL has done a good job in the past - like with the wedge rule. This suggestion doesn't add up. It doesn't address what they say the dangers are because punts are just as violent. There aren't going to be any touchbacks. How many times have you seen a punt returner waiting for the ball to come down and the gunner just kills him?

``It doesn't make sense to me.''

Cribbs, who shares the league record (8) for kickoff return touchdowns with Seattle's Leon Washington, can't envision the game he has played since he was a kid not having kickoffs.

``I couldn't ever see that,'' said Cribbs, sixth on the career kickoff yardage list. ``That's like taking the goal post out of the stadium, taking the whole post and uprooting it. Only play offense and defense, just like intramurals. Then play indoors and put flags in our pants.''

Dawson believes recent rules changes like banning the blocking wedge, moving the kickoff up five yards and limiting the number of players that can line up on one side of the ball for an onside kick, have lessened the number of violent collisions in games.

However, there are plenty of other plays when hard hits are common. He cited punts as a prime example.

``When the ball is 50 yards down the field, guys are running full speed and you get a lot of cross blocks and guys getting knocked out,'' Dawson said. ``I still wouldn't say it's any more dangerous than any other play. I watch wide receivers get concussions each and every week in the NFL, yet we're going to pick on kickoffs? That doesn't add up to me.''

Dawson said taking away the kickoff - and it's only a suggestion at this point - would also remove other elements that help make pro football special.

``There is so much scheming, personnel matchups, strategy that goes into each and every kickoff that people will never understand,'' he said. ``All they see is a guy run and kick the ball. But there's a lot that goes into it and it would be a shame to see that much thought be removed from the game.

``And hey, I'm probably someone who would benefit from this rule, so I don't have a vested interest. I'm known as a field-goal guy, so if anything it would help me, so I'm not saying this because I'm mad, I'm a kicker and I'm going to lose. I don't think this suggestion makes sense.''

The argument that taking away kickoffs would cost players jobs isn't a sound one, Dawson said. Most teams use the same players to cover punts and kickoffs and only two teams have kickoff specialists.

For both Cribbs and Dawson, the kickoff is as much a part of pro football as the handoff or forward pass. It is engrained in the sport's deepest roots.

``From when I was a little kid I dreamed about having the opening kickoff in the Super Bowl and all the flashbulbs go off,'' he said. ``I want to be that guy. There's so much that can be accomplished on that play for both sides. To think a guy like Josh Cribbs wouldn't have the opportunity to have the career he's had because of all the excitement he's brought the game.

``I can remember Desmond Howard returning a kick for a touchdown in the Super Bowl and what a game-changing play that was.''

Cribbs also applauds the NFL's efforts to make the game safer, but thinks it's becoming too muted. Stripping away the kickoff would make things worse.

``It's getting to be too much of an entertainment business instead of a sport,'' he said. ``I know it's a sport and entertainment and there's a lot of revenue involved, but it'd be straight entertainment and no sports. We won't even be on NFL Network, we'll be on MTV.

``It'd be a made-up sport.''

---

NOTES: Browns P Reggie Hodges was named the club's Ed Block Courage Award winner, given to the player who exemplifies courage, compassion, commitment and community service. Hodges came back after sustaining a season-ending Achilles injury in 2011. He went on a mission to Jamaica during the offseason, bringing shoes and supplies to underprivileged children. ``He's a great locker room guy and a great guy in the community,'' Dawson of his teammate. ``He certainly deserves that award.'' ... The Browns did not have a single player listed as ``questionable,'' ``doubtful'' or ``out'' on their injury report. They had 10 players listed as ``probable.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Mejia: Week 2 Preseason Notes - NFC
Lawrence: 2014 AFC Season Preview
Mejia: Week 2 Preseason Notes - AFC
ASA: NFC North Notebook
ASA: NFC South Notebook
Marshall: Philadelphia Hype
Rogers: AFC North Preview
Browns tab Hoyer as starting QB
Cowboys worth more than $3 billion
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NFL Hot Streaks
9-3 L12 Picks, 73 % +1,083 TY
3-0 L3 G-Plays, 6-1 L7 Picks
5-0 L5 Guaranteed Plays
4-0 Preseason Record
5-1 Picks This Season
4-1 L5, 7-3 This Year
4-0 NFL Guarantees TY
NFL Pro Football Expert Sports Picks-
2014 NFL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 1083
Bruce Marshall + 570
Marc Lawrence + 400
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 558
Bruce Marshall + 390
Marc Lawrence + 300
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Marc Lawrence 100 %
Kyle Hunter 100 %
ASA 83 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 455
The Gold Sheet + 400
Scott Pritchard + 390
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 785
ASA + 200
Bruce Marshall + 200
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 295
Doc's Sports + 290
John Fisher + 275
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!