BEREA: If this is Josh Cribbs’ final season with the Browns, at least his fans did their part to send him off in honor.
Cribbs finished first among AFC special teamers in Pro Bowl fan voting, receiving 127,848 online votes. The results were announced Thursday.
Cribbs might be playing in his second-to-last game with the Browns (5-9) when they visit the Denver Broncos (11-3) on Sunday.
“It means a lot just to be in that number, just to be considered, and not to be just an average guy,” said Cribbs, whose contract with the Browns will expire in March. “Knowing that I play above average, that I’m not washed up like they say because just to be top anything in the NFL is a good thing.”
The AFC and NFC Pro Bowl rosters are formed with the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining the 43-man rosters, which will be announced at 7 p.m. Dec. 26 on the NFL Network. Players and coaches are casting their votes Thursday and today.
Cribbs, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, also finished second among AFC kick returners with 135,101 votes.
“I love the support from the fans,” Cribbs said. “It just lets me know that hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, especially in this town being a blue-collar town.”
Although Phil Dawson did not crack the list of the top-five AFC kickers after the first week of fan voting, he rallied and finished second with 120,620 votes. Dawson, who has yet to make a Pro Bowl, credited punter Reggie Hodges for launching an unofficial Pro Bowl campaign for him on Twitter.
“I owe a lot to Reggie and his efforts,” said Dawson, who, like Cribbs, could be in his final season with the Browns. “It’s pretty cool to have a teammate care that much. Obviously the fan support here in Cleveland is tremendous. I’ve commented several times this season just how overwhelming it’s been and we’ll see. It’s been great. We’ve got a chance at least.”
D’Qwell Jackson finished second among AFC inside linebackers with 150,442 votes.
The Baltimore Ravens’ Jacoby Jones (143,047 votes) finished first among AFC kick returners. The Oakland Raiders’ Sebastian Janikowski (138,068 votes) took first among AFC kickers. And the New England Patriots’ Jerod Mayo (143,047 votes) finished first among AFC inside linebackers.
Joe Thomas (175,915 votes) finished fourth among AFC offensive tackles, and rookie Trent Richardson (240,033 votes) finished fifth among AFC running backs. Richardson received the most votes among any Browns player.
“My first year, just to get all the support from the fans, it’s big for me,” Richardson said. “It tells me that the fans love me. They’re behind me. It just shows me that they respect me, and it means a lot. It’s one of your dreams. It’s one of your goals. I always wanted to be in the Pro Bowl. I haven’t made it there yet, but just them making all those votes for me, that’s big.”
The 2013 Pro Bowl will be played at 7 p.m. Jan. 27 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. It will be televised on NBC.
Still no explanation
Cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who was the Browns’ top nickel corner, told the Miami Herald he did not receive an explanation or ask for one after the Browns cut him Monday. He was awarded to the Miami Dolphins off waivers Tuesday.
“You’ve got to ask [coach] Pat Shurmur,” Patterson said when asked about his departure from Cleveland. “I don’t think [anyone] is happy when something like that happens, unless it’s a real, real bad situation. It’s just something that happened.”
Shurmur refused to explain the release of Patterson, who re-signed with the Browns for three years and $16 million, including $6 million guaranteed, in March. Patterson missed seven games this season after suffering a left high ankle sprain and torn ligament Oct. 7 against the New York Giants.
Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron also declined to comment on Patterson being waived. Jauron, though, said he’s comfortable with Buster Skrine returning to a full-time role as the nickel corner.
“I am a big Buster Skrine fan,” Jauron said. “He’s a very easy guy to coach. He’s a very talented young player. He really wants to do it. He works at it. He studies it. He listens. He listens to veterans. I think he’s got an admirable respect for the game of football. He’s got a long career in front of him. He just needs time and experience.”
Wide receiver Jordan Norwood practiced the past two days after he had been idle since suffering a sprained left foot Oct. 7. Norwood was placed on injured reserve and designated to return, which means he’s eligible to play Sunday.
Before this year, players who were put on IR were ruled out for the season. The rule was changed to allow one player per team to return.
“It’s certainly not up to me, but I would love to play,” Norwood said. “I’m definitely fortunate that they have this rule this season ’cause otherwise who knows if I would be here or be sitting at home or what. I’m definitely thankful for that rule.”
Shurmur said tight end Jordan Cameron is being treated as if he might have a concussion. Cameron did not practice the past two days.
Rookie tight end Brad Smelley might be active Sunday if Cameron cannot play, Shurmur said.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” said Smelley, a seventh-round pick. “Having an opportunity to play, this is what I’ve been working for all year, and I’m going to be ready when my number is called.”
Wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi (knee) did not practice Thursday after being limited Wednesday. Defensive end Frostee Rucker (shoulder/hip) has not practiced the past two days but expects to play Sunday.
Free safety Tashaun Gipson (foot) was added to the injury report. Gipson, who is penciled in to start Sunday, practiced on a limited basis.
Broncos strong safety Mike Adams has no sympathy for his former team. In March, Adams left the Browns via free agency. He said he wanted to stay in Cleveland but wasn’t offered a deal.
“I don’t feel sorry for them at all,” Adams told the Associated Press. “Ever since I got there, they’ve been trying to rebuild. At some point, you just move forward. But that’s them. I’m here. It’s different now. I’m happy. I’m content.”
Browns wide receivers coach Mike Wilson said rookie Josh Gordon’s $20,000 fine for his crushing block on Baltimore Ravens free safety Ed Reed on Nov. 4 was recently rescinded. … With strongside linebacker James-Michael Johnson (left knee) on injured reserve, L.J. Fort’s playing time might increase when the Browns use their base defense. “I got that first taste of playing in an NFL game,” said Fort, who hasn’t played a snap on defense since Nov. 18 against the Dallas Cowboys. “So I’ve just been dying to get back out there.” … The Philadelphia Eagles signed tight end Evan Moore, who was cut by the Browns in August. … Former Eagles punter Chas Henry worked out for the Browns this week, Adam Caplan of TheSidelineView.com reported.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com.browns.abj.