Cribbs believes Holmgren will uphold Browns' promises of new deal

BEREA, Ohio -- Josh Cribbs is eager to meet the new president of the Cleveland Browns. Mike Holmgren can write the large check that Cribbs can't wait to cash.

Cribbs said Friday that he's still confident he'll have a new contract soon, despite a recent front-office shakeup that has delayed negotiations while giving full authority to Holmgren.

Cribbs, who has been asking for a new deal since training camp, said a few weeks ago that the team assured him something would be done by the end of the season. With the Browns' final game two days away, that doesn't seem likely. But Cribbs said Holmgren already has been in contact with his agent, J.R. Rickert.

"I'm pretty sure he (Holmgren) is going to start off on a good foot and take care of me," Cribbs said. "He knows football. I've got a lot of faith in him."

A call to Rickert by The Associated Press on Friday wasn't returned.

Cribbs says he has twice been promised by the Browns that he will receive a new deal, but he's still playing on a six-year, $6.77 million contract that has three years remaining on it. Cribbs said Browns owner Randy Lerner told him after last season that he would receive a new deal, then the team started over by firing general manager Phil Savage and coach Romeo Crennel.

Browns coach Eric Mangini wanted to see what he had in Cribbs before giving him a new contract, then watched Cribbs become the most valuable player on a 4-11 team entering Sunday's finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Earlier this season, Cribbs became the NFL's career leader in kickoff returns for touchdowns with eight.

"It's going to get done," Cribbs said of his contract. "I'd prefer it to be done before the end of the season, but beggars can't be choosers. I've waited this long."

Holmgren will go to work on fixing the Browns next week, when he is expected to arrive in Cleveland. Holmgren hasn't decided whether Mangini will return for a second season, but he said he wouldn't need long to make up his mind.

Cribbs and Mangini were at odds during training camp because of the contract, but the current three-game winning streak has won over the Browns' most dynamic player. Cribbs believes Mangini deserves another year in Cleveland.

"I think he's done a very good job of turning this program around," Cribbs said. "It'd be crazy (for Holmgren) to say, 'You're coach of the Browns, I won a Super Bowl, you're gone.' C'mon now, one year? I believe he deserves another year or so to turn this program around and get us winning games. I'd love to see him back."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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