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Browns return man Cribbs exits practice early with stiff knee

BEREA, Ohio -- Josh Cribbs, the Cleveland Browns' dynamic kick return specialist, sat out the second part of practice Sunday with his left knee wrapped in ice.

Earlier, fans had cheered each time Cribbs caught a pass from quarterback Colt McCoy as a wide receiver in the team's new West Coast offense and were puzzled and disappointed when he sat out with what Cribbs called a strain from having a defensive back land on his leg.

"I didn't want to press through it and risk missing a preseason game," Cribbs said as he went indoors to join teammates in an afternoon of stability training.

Tight end Ben Watson only watched after sustaining a concussion Saturday. Wide receiver Carlton Mitchell walked off with a shoulder problem.

Starting wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi still had his right foot in a cast with an injury that has yet to be fully explained by the Browns. Massaquoi declined to comment as he headed indoors.

Cribbs was part of the second day of non-padded drills for about an hour, then went to the sideline. He removed the ice bag after a while and when the two-hour workout was over, seemed to favor the leg somewhat as he jogged lightly to join teammates for a meet-and-greet session with appreciative fans.

"He participated through one-on-ones, then his knee got a little stiff," first-year head coach Pat Shurmur said. "I don't think it is serious.

"Carlton had a little episode with his shoulder, but Watson is going to be out a little bit."

Cribbs made a couple of nice catches at wide receiver before being hurt. His breakaway speed and willingness to take on tacklers could make him a key component in the new, upscale offense being implemented -- as long as he remains healthy.

Two years ago, Cribbs accounted for 2,510 all-purpose yards. He had 1,340 last season, slowed when he dislocated four toes while being tackled after a 37-yard pass reception on Nov. 14.

Cribbs said after the Browns' 5-11 season it was a humbling experience and he felt like he let the fans down.

His legion of followers didn't feel that way as they called out to him early in practice, then gathered around him afterward.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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