Cribbs Stalemate Escalates

The contrast between the respective positions held by the Browns and receiver/kick returner Josh Cribbs has quickly become nearly as divisive as the question of whether Mike Vick should be reinstated.
Our own John Taylor of CFT has continued to smother this story for The Orange And Brown Report, and John’s Monday night entry shows two sides that are firmly entrenched as to the question of whether Browns owner Randy Lerner promised to address Cribbs’ contract.
The conflict between the versions provided by Lerner and Cribbs couldn’t be more clear.  Cribbs apparently would swear under oath that Lerner promised after the regular-season finale to address the player’s contract; Lerner vehemently denies that any such commitment ever was made.
Lerner told Taylor by phone Monday night that “he has neither addressed Cribbs’ contract with the player personally, nor has he spoken to the player over the phone regarding his contract.”
Cribbs’ camp issued earlier in the evening the following statement:  “We have incredible trust in our client, and we have cell phone records to back up that trust.  After talking to Lerner [on the day of the season finale], [Cribbs] called [his agents], called his financial advisor, called numerous people, to let us know what he had just talked to Lerner about. . . .  We aren’t trying to throw anybody under the bus, but  we stand by the credibility of our client.”
The stalemate apparently crossed the proverbial Rubicon on Monday afternoon, when the Browns issued a statement denying reports that any promises had been made to Cribbs.  His agents thereafter said that the team’s comments  made Cribbs “look like a liar or a fabricator.”
On the surface, this problem is no different than the dispute between the Eagles and cornerback Sheldon Brown.  The player signed a long-term deal, the player thinks he has outperformed the deal, and the team is content to point to the contract and remind the player that he signed the agreement without the barrel of a gun resting on either temple.
But this one has taken on a darker quality in light of the fact that Cribbs genuinely believes that the team promised to fix the situation.  Though the verbal promises have no legally binding effect, Cribbs now believes not only that he has been lied to, but also that the team is going out of its way to paint him as the liar.
In our view, it’s a very risky way to run a football team, especially with a bunch of other guys who can identify with Cribbs watching and listening.

25 responses to “Cribbs Stalemate Escalates

  1. Sounds like ‘what we have here is a failure to communicate’. Does it seem strange to anyone else that a player and owner would be dealing with something like this directly, completely bypassing the players agent and the team’s GM?

  2. Cribbs is the most explosive player on the roster. If this gets ugly, there’ll be plenty of suitors to take him off their hands. His super-human immune systems has already repelled the staph. Pay him before this gets out of hand.

  3. ” Does it seem strange to anyone else that a player and owner would be dealing with something like this directly, completely bypassing the players agent and the team’s GM?”
    Actually stuff like this is common and therefore predictable and avoidable by the team senior management (like owners). I have had positions where managers have reported to me. It was common for a young and naive or old and conniving employee to approach me (the senior manager in this case) and ask me a question about a topic normally the manager reporting to me should handle. In the case of the young employee, it is simply them trying to address an issue of importance to them. Often I was aware of the issue through conversations with the manager, sometimes not. In the case of the older employee the goal is to create the situation where I make an off-hand comment that can be used as leverage against the manager.
    If the senior manager dismisses the inquiry with a comment like “We’ll look at that later” they think they have dismissed an inquiry made at an inappropriate time and it will resurface through “proper” channels later. What the hopeful employee hears is what he wants to hear, that he now has a commitment from the top to fix his issue.
    It is important as a senior manager to recognize when such a question is asked and to give it the importance the employee places on it. That does not mean answering it but dismissing it to the proper time and place so the employee understands what you just said.
    My take: Cribbs (and probably Cutler) asked a question inappropriate in time and place (in the eyes of the team owners) had the question clumsily dismissed and walked away hearing the wrong message. That won’t change how they fell about it and the team senior management should be more polished than that.

  4. He should tell them to piss off and sit out the season. The people running this team are fu-king dirtbags. After they screw up this team mangini will be out of the league and kokinis will go back to ordering paper cups for the concession stands.

  5. Start getting excited Jets fans. I’m sure Mangenious is already working out a trade that will send Josh Cribbs to New York for a few spare parts or a draft pick.
    I don’t see any reason why Cribbs would lie about this. If my employer promised me a raise and then denied it when my new boss was hired I would be mad too. I would actually be looking for a new job.

  6. But this one has taken on a darker quality in light of the fact that Cribbs genuinely believes that the team promised to fix the situation. Though the verbal promises have no legally binding effect, Cribbs now believes not only that he has been lied to, but also that the team is going out of its way to paint him as the liar.
    THESE ARE YOUR WORDS. There is much gray area in this disagreement that you are painting much more black and white. Could it be that there was a misinterpretation of what was said at season’s end? Hey, On Josh Cribbs’ show, I heard him say that he loved football and would play for free, then he laughed. Does that mean he’d really play for free? Of course not. This is really nothing that won’t work out in the end. Lerner is not a bad guy nor is Josh Cribbs.

  7. Maybe if players were more interested in playing the game than talking to their financial advisor on the “day of the season finale,” the Browns would win more than 4 games a year.

  8. People have to look at it like this as well …. cribbs signed that contract as a kr/pr. They have given him a much larger workload now … he should be paid like that.

  9. Sorry, but Pat Bowlen and Lerner aren’t senior managers or the holder of any other real world business title. Professional sports leagues typically operate differently and the NFL is no exception.
    My Take: Lerner spoke to Cribbs at the weekly sales/production meeting where he told him he’d like to have a later conversation with him during the lunch break by the roach coach. It was at this time – in the midst of a Big John basket shooting session – that Lerner said with half a stale doughnut in his mouth that he was going to take care of Cribbs.

  10. jj47st…
    obviously, you haven’t seen the guy play offense. sure he’s a hell of a returner/special teams player, but this guy is no Devin Hester by any stretch on the offensive side.

  11. Larger workload? Larger pay? He’s been great at it, but let’s keep in mind all he’s done so far is be a good kick returner.

  12. In your view you’re a good “sports writer”. In my view, I find it hard to believe that Lerner just called Cribbs up tot ell him his contract would be addressed. When was the last time your boss called you after work and said ” we will address your paycheck” after a HORRIBLE LOSS and season where you failed to come close to your previous seasons totals.
    I believe a player about his contract, about as much as I believe Florio has credible sources.

  13. Well they are talking to him this year as playing safety. lets see signed it as a kr/pr … he has had time as wr now … soon to be safety … trick plays as a qb … that all means more time he is spending on the field. hes explosive enough that people have to account for him when hes there. so with that being a larger workload he should be paid on a larger pay scale.

  14. Listen nobody is going to be able to tell Mangini how to manage – he’s going to do whatever he wants anyway. If that means he’s adamant about being hardline and has blinders to the disasters he’s left in his wake (and let’s be serious here, he got booted from the Jets essentially because his hardline bullshit shtick didn’t play well with others) then so be it. He won’t last long. The best thing Cribbs can do in this situation is figure out how to best showcase his skills so that he can get the hell away from Mangini without eroding his rep. His agent will have to advise him on that. It could be sitting out the year. It could be demanding a trade. What’s clear now is that Mangini either doesn’t care about team chemistry or he doesn’t know a damn thing about it. He has a personality disorder. I’ve known guys like that and he fits it to a T. Sure they might convince an owner that they’re the guy, but everyone else sees a pattern of behavior that’s gonna self-destruct. And I should point out that this has nothing at all to do with the contract or whether Cribbs deserves it. You just don’t air this shit out in public like some sort of sullen child. You sure as hell don’t do it with a guy who’s setting an example for others in the locker room.

  15. _BpG_ – why R U here?
    WTF?
    “In your view you’re a good “sports writer”.”
    You’re using the Cribbs story to slam Florio? If you dislike what he writes SO MUCH – why are you reading and commenting on this site?
    “I believe a player about his contract, about as much as I believe Florio has credible sources.”
    Again – If you dislike what Florio writes SO MUCH – why are you reading and commenting on this site to begin with?
    Is it because the site is too good to pass up for NFL fans every where?
    Or do you just like to “show your ass” like the new Buffalo receiver?

  16. I with pea he signed the contract. ask ochocinco how sitting out the season went for him after the fines start to pile up. i say go ahead sit out.

  17. texline says:
    May 19th, 2009 at 7:39 am
    Wow. You mean Lerner is a cheap s.o.b.? Who’d a’ thunk it?
    ____________________________________________________
    He isn’t cheap, he’s just dumb as a box of hammers and has no idea how to run anything since he has been handed everything he has ever gotten.

  18. “_BpG_ – why R U here?
    WTF?
    “In your view you’re a good “sports writer”.”
    You’re using the Cribbs story to slam Florio? If you dislike what he writes SO MUCH – why are you reading and commenting on this site?
    “I believe a player about his contract, about as much as I believe Florio has credible sources.”
    Again – If you dislike what Florio writes SO MUCH – why are you reading and commenting on this site to begin with?
    Is it because the site is too good to pass up for NFL fans every where?
    Or do you just like to “show your ass” like the new Buffalo receiver? ”
    ————————————————————————————————–
    It is just what BpG does. If you would ever encounter him on the Browns official message board you would see what I mean. He’s nothing but a pompous arrogant ijit that likes to impose his viewpoints on others and condemn them as stupid when they disagree.

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