Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Raiders lift return game with Josh Cribbs
By Bill Williamson
A day after New York Jets general manager John Idzik said he didn’t think Josh Cribbs was healthy, the aging but dynamic return man has signed with the Oakland Raiders.
The longtime Cleveland receiver/returner nearly signed with Arizona earlier in free agency, but he was recovering from a knee injury. He started visiting teams last week with the Raiders being the first team he visited. He visited three other teams, including the Jets. The fact that Cribbs may not be completely healthy right now is not a huge deal. He will get there.
Oakland will look at Cribbs primarily as a return man. He is tied for the most career kick returns for a touchdown in NFL history with eight. Cribbs, who will turn 30 next month, is primarily a returner. He has had more than 23 catches in a season just once when he had 41 in 2011.
I don’t see this as being a bad signing for Oakland. It’s a low-risk move. If Cribbs still has something in the tank, he can help the team.
It is also insurance in case Jacoby Ford can’t return from a foot injury that kept him out for the 2012 season and for six games in the previous season. Ford and Cribbs are similar players, with Ford giving more in the passing game. But it could come down to keeping either player, especially if some rookie receiver like Brice Butler or Conner Vernon makes a huge push to make the 53-man roster. The team can only keep so many receivers.
So, it could come down to health between Ford and Cribbs.
In other AFC West notes:
Former Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist signed with Baltimore. He tried out for the Chiefs last week.
Wednesday was the last day for Amy Trask in Oakland. She resigned as Raiders CEO four days ago. The team took out a full-page ad in a local paper to thank Trask for her quarter century of service.