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Cleveland Browns

Cribbs wants 'fair market value'

By Marla Ridenour Published: January 11, 2010

Browns Pro Bowl returner Joshua Cribbs took his contract demands to ESPN's Bristol, Conn. campus Monday, but didn't blast his team for its lowball offer of $1.4 million per year in an appearance on ''First Take.''

Asked by host Jay Crawford, a lifelong Browns fan, if he had a number in mind, Cribbs said, ''It's fair market value. I don't want to speak in terms of money.''

''At this point, I'm going to try and let my agents handle things,'' Cribbs said. ''I feel like I've said enough. I've (given) my take on the situation. The Browns gave me their offer, I respectfully declined.''

He said the two sides were ''far enough'' apart, ''that's why we're here now.''

Perhaps judging from the mixed reviews from fans his decision to go public drew last week, Cribbs didn't vow to sit out. The former Kent State quarterback has three years remaining on a six-year, $6.7 million contact he signed in November, 2006.

''I love playing in Cleveland,'' he said. ''The fans keep me thriving. That's what I hold dear. Sitting out. ... I haven't made my decision yet.

''It's a difficult situation. I wish it could have been done more privately. To this point I haven't gone public with how I felt. But I went two times and tried to get a different contract and I was two times turned down, told to wait, be patient. I've played and did what I had to do on the field to show them why I deserve it.''

That was quite different than what Cribbs said Monday morning on ESPN radio. When asked directly what he will do if the Browns don't change their offer, Cribbs was blunt in his answer, according to profootballtalk.com.

"I won't play," Cribbs said. "I won't play."

The $1.4 million offer was first presented to his agents by Browns vice president of football administration Dawn Aponte in early December, then again after new president Mike Holmgren joined the team on Dec. 21. Cribbs hopes Holmgren didn't give the offer much thought.

Asked if Holmgren was involved, Cribbs said, ''I would assume. Hopefully he didn't know about it and it kind of went under the radar, but I don't know. We haven't gotten that phone call. I'm going to stay positive. I'm going to do everything I can to stay in a Browns uniform.''

Cribbs called Holmgren ''a great football mind, a great addition to the Browns organization.''

''Right now I'm putting my faith and trust in him,'' Cribbs said.

Holmgren said on a conference call Monday evening that he didn't consider the $1.4 million offer a take it or leave it proposition.

''I think that went out a long time ago,'' Holmgren said. ''I'm not sure you ever say that. You have to try and avoid negotiating against yourself. Any sort of negotiation is a two-way street. My hope is that we can get this to a win-win situation. Yes, I think there's a chance. There's light at the end of the tunnel, hopefully.''

Cribbs said on his Twitter page that the trip to ESPN was planned before his contract squabble arose.

Cribbs has been a supporter of coach Eric Mangini, who told Cribbs he would take care of him, along with former general manager Phil Savage. Cribbs said the 13-6 upset of Pittsburgh on Dec. 10 that snapped a 12-game losing streak to the Steelers and sparked a four-game winning streak to finish the season got the Browns ''over the hump.''

''After we won that game, that gave us the confidence needed,'' Cribbs said. ''Coach Mangini did a great job (stocking) his team with players that wanted to win, whether they were on the practice squad, whether they came off the street.''

Cribbs opened his day on ''Mike and Mike'' at 9:45 a.m., then appeared on First Take (ESPN2) about 11:30 a.m.

An ESPN.com chat is scheduled to begin at 1:15 p.m., followed by ESPNews at 2:40 p.m., ''The Scot Van Pelt Show'' at 3:40 p.m. (ESPN radio, ESPNU), ''The Doug Gottlieb Show'' at 4 p.m. (taped for ESPN radio), ''NFL Live'' (ESPN) at 4 p.m. and SportsCenter (ESPN) at 6 p.m.

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