Browns receiver/returner Joshua Cribbs said it's time for the Colt McCoy era to begin, even if some fans believe Cribbs should be taking the majority of the snaps at quarterback Sunday at Pittsburgh.
Speaking at a downtown Cleveland press conference to announce the retiring of his No. 9 at Kent State, Cribbs believes coach Eric Mangini will turn to McCoy, the third round pick from Texas, against the Steelers. Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace are hobbling with right ankle sprains.
''They brought in Colt McCoy to be the leader a couple years from now and his time has come before that,'' Cribbs said. ''They spent the money on him and he deserves to play.
''I won't be the quarterback because I'm not the quarterback. If they need me to play, I will, but we have a quarterback in Colt McCoy and he's shown that he can move the offense in preseason. I have faith in the organization that they're going to put the right person behind there to help us have the best chance to win the game.''
A former quarterback at Kent State, Cribbs acknowledged that he believes he could do it if needed.
"I think I can,'' Cribbs said. ''I look at the coach and say, 'Why not?' Any player should and would feel like that.
''It's a business. I don't know. I can't say why I won't play quarterback or if I will. If I do, I'll be prepared.''
Cribbs doesn't know if offensive coordinator Brian Daboll will use him in more Wildcat formations on Sunday. Cribbs rushed for a career-high 87 yards in the Browns' home victory over the Steelers last December.
''I have no idea,'' Cribbs said. ''Hopefully. When things go wrong it's always in the package. I'm sure it will be in the package on Sunday as well.''
Asked if he thinks McCoy can handle the Steeler defense, Cribbs said, "I believe he can. I have confidence in him. Anything that he lacks, his teammates will help pick it up. I feel he has enough supporting cast around him that they'll pick it up. Just like they did with Seneca, they'll call plays tailored to him and his needs.''
Some of Cribbs' best games have come against the Steelers, including three of his eight kickoff returns for touchdowns.
"It's not that field, it's the game itself,'' Cribbs said. ''Our fans do a great job expressing to the players how important this rivalry is and how important this game is. They don't care what our record is or about any other game during the year, they just care about this game, their Pennsylvania neighbors. My heart goes out to them, so I play this game for them.''
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