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Last straw? Cribbs intends to walk out on Browns after low offer

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Josh Cribbs believes it's "unlikely" that he will play another game for the Cleveland Browns. Insulted by the Browns' latest contract offer, Cribbs intends to clean out his locker, and one of his agents said the Pro Bowler will demand a trade.

"I'm hurt because I don't want to play for nobody else," Cribbs said Wednesday night. "But the way they're talking, they're leaving me no choice."

Cribbs was the Browns' most valuable player this season. He played wide receiver and quarterback, and he also returned and covered kickoffs and punts. He even set the NFL career record for most kickoff returns for touchdowns.

But agent Peter Schaffer said Wednesday that the Browns failed to live up to previous promises they made to Cribbs and offered him $1.4 million annually for six years, well below market value. Schaffer said there's "no more middle ground" and he's "extremely shocked" that new team president Mike Holmgren wouldn't understand Cribbs' value to the Browns.

"We're going to formally put in a request for a trade," J.R. Rickert, Cribbs' other agent, told NFL Network's Jason La Canfora. "He will not set foot in that facility again. If they had offered even something like $2.5 million per season, we could have worked with them, but to me, this offer is indefensible."

Rickert said Browns vice president of football administration Dawn Aponte, who handles contract negotiations, told him the offer was final and that Holmgren was in agreement with her.

"Dawn said this was it, this was their offer," Rickert said. "She said it would be 1.4 today, 1.4 in March and 1.4 in August."

Cribbs said last month that the team had promised to give him a new contract by the end of the season. Even in the days leading up to the Browns' season finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday, Cribbs remained optimistic that something would get done.

Not anymore.

"I did all the playing I'm going to play on this contract," Cribbs said. "I ain't doing nothing. I'm not showing my face until it's right."

Rickert said he asked the team if it needed or wanted more time to consider things, especially with Holmgren just coming on the job, and that he told Aponte if she didn't change the offer or request more time to negotiate by 5 p.m. Wednesday, he would take the unusual tactic of making the offer public.

"I didn't feel like we had any other choice than to let the Browns fans know exactly what was going on," Rickert said, "and let them know why Josh was preparing to leave."

Said Schaffer: "I'm extremely shocked. I have tremendous respect for Mike Holmgren. I know he knows how to put a team together. I was optimistic that with him coming aboard that he would understand and that Josh would be rewarded. To see there is no change in their position is insulting."

Holmgren said Tuesday that he had contact with Cribbs' representatives when he was at home in Arizona. Holmgren intimated that he planned to take care of Cribbs but only after fair negotiations.

"I believe players should be rewarded for what they do," Holmgren said. "I have no problems with that at all. What happens, though, on occasion is our view of how much that should be and the agent's view of how much that should be differs. We have made an effort.

"We will continue to make an effort to handle Josh's situation. I want Josh here."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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