Cleveland Browns return ace Josh Cribbs has been outspoken about the NFL's decision to move the kickoff 5-yards closer - from the 30 to the 35-yard line. ON Wednesday, Cribbs was asked if the team has a rule in place on how deep players will be allowed to attempt to bring a ball out. The answer shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.
"It will be different for each returner," Cribbs said. "But for me, nine yards. Anything above nine yards, I'll probably keep it in."
Nine yards?? That's pretty deep, but what else would expect from Cribbs, who has already broken the NFL record for most kickoff returns for a touchdown in a career.
While Cribbs may be exaggerating a bit, he does believe the rule change was a mistake - and the reasons behind the decision unfounded.
"I don't see (injury) stats behind it, and that's what the issue was" Cribbs said. "There's no stats to back it up. Their intentions are good, but the stats aren't there to back up the reasoning."
While Cribbs continues to believe the rule change was a mistake, he does think there are some opportunities for the right player.
"Good returners will take advantage of it. There will be good schemes, and there will still be opportunities," he said. "There will be a lot of inside the 20-yard-line tackles this year. A lot of returners will get tired of taking a knee in the end zone and will try to bring it out. Guys are getting down there faster. Kickers hare hanging the ball up there. That's what you can look for -- touchbacks and inside-the-20 tackles."
In the end, however, Cribbs knows the game will not change for most players, especially those who get sick of taking a knee in the end-zone, and if the opportunity presents itself, Cribbs is ready to take advantage.
"I want somebody to come chase my record," he said. "I want to be able to chase it as well. At the same time, it's just an obstacle to get over, and I'm looking forward to getting over it."