Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians hopes Josh Cribbs can rebound from offseason knee surgery because Arians wants the three-time Browns Pro Bowl kick returner on his team.
Cribbs, a free agent who bid farewell to Cleveland last week via Instagram, had knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus following the 2012 season. Cribbs visited the Cardinals on Monday and is expected to do so again once his knee heals more, his agent JR Rickert said.
Arians made it clear today at the NFL owners meeting in Phoenix that he wants to sign Cribbs.
“I would love to have him if he can get healthy,” Arians said. “He’s a dynamic player in a lot of phases, not just special teams. Obviously he’s one of the best [special-teams players] ever. But I think he can do some things offensively to help us become more dynamic.”
In 2011, Cribbs had the most production in his career as a wide receiver when he tallied 41 catches for 518 yards and four touchdowns. He had only seven catches for 63 yards this past season and often expressed his frustration about not being heavily involved in ex-Browns coach Pat Shurmur’s offense.
Arians thinks Cribbs could have untapped potential as a receiver.
“That’s the part I’d like to get my hands on to find out about, get him out on the grass and see what his positives and his negatives are as a receiver,” said Arians, a former offensive coordinator of the Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers. “I know once he gets his hands on the football how dynamic he can be.
“His resume speaks for itself. He’s got a lot of house calls. Against me, I can remember one in Pittsburgh the ball was laying down in the corner and we had him just pinned in, and the next thing I know he’s running by me on the sideline for a touchdown.
“He’s physical. He breaks tackles, plays the game relentlessly, the way it’s supposed to be played, and those are the type of guys we’ve been adding to our roster. He fits that mold if we can get his health back.”
Arians said he’s “not a Wildcat guy,” so he wouldn’t use Cribbs out of that formation the way the Browns have in the past. However, he is curious about Cribbs’ ability to play tailback.
“He’s such a big, physical guy,” Arians said. “Whether he could play in the backfield, I’d have to find out. I’d like to get my hands on him and find out about a couple things he can do as a receiver and a back.”