DENVER: Browns veteran Josh Cribbs lashed out at fans on Twitter after the Browns’ 34-12 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, making it clear that his frustrations had reached a boiling point.
“I see all the negativity on Twitter after I gave my life to this [crap],” Cribbs wrote. “So [to] all [you] who are against me [screw] all y’all! I’m still gonna do me!”
Cribbs, a special-teams ace, later deleted the message and followed it by trying to explain himself in a series of other tweets.
“We battle like gladiators on the field every week [and] we put our all out there,” he wrote. “So [to] come off the field to the BS [people] put on twitter … ”
“[To] all Browns fans who are with us win or lose, we got [the Pittsburgh Steelers] next week [and] this loss makes us hungry for a W!!!”
“Yeah, I had a moment. [Shaking my head]. … I [forgot] each day there are a new breed of haters out there disguised as fans!”
The Broncos muffed two punts but recovered both. Cribbs muffed one, and the Broncos’ Lance Ball recovered the fumble at Cleveland’s 19-yard line. Three plays later, fullback Jacob Hester ran for a 1-yard touchdown to give the Broncos a 30-6 lead with 12:11 left in the fourth quarter.
However, it’s unclear which comment or comments triggered Cribbs’ outburst.
A member of the Browns since 2005, Cribbs is the second-longest tenured of the team behind kicker Phil Dawson, who has been with the organization since its expansion season in 1999. His status as a fan favorite is undeniable. Cribbs finished first this year among AFC special teamers in Pro Bowl fan voting, receiving 127,848 online votes. The results were announced Thursday.
Cribbs’ contract with the Browns will expire in March, and this could be his last season with the team.
The Browns intend to part with coach Pat Shurmur and General Manager Tom Heckert at the end of the regular season, Jason La Canfora of CBS reported Sunday, citing league sources. The Browns will visit the Pittsburgh Steelers for their season finale Dec. 30, and CEO Joe Banner said last week he and owner Jimmy Haslam would make decisions about the futures of Shurmur and Heckert “quickly after the season.”
University of Alabama coach Nick Saban has insisted he’s not interested in leaving the Crimson Tide and returning to the NFL. But some league executives aren’t convinced, and the Browns are prepared to try to persuade Saban to become their next coach, according to La Canfora.
La Canfora reported an unnamed source who has been in contact with Saban estimated there’s an 80 percent chance he will stay at Alabama, which will face Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship on Jan. 7. Some believe Saban returning to the NFL is even less likely. Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson, who played for Saban the past three years at Alabama, said last week he would be “shocked” if his old coach left the Crimson Tide.
Saban, a graduate of Kent State, compiled a record of 15-17 in two seasons (2005-06) as coach of the Miami Dolphins. Last week, he expressed his desire to stay with the Crimson Tide.
“We’re really, really pleased and happy to be here,” Saban told reporters in Alabama. “We’ve been able to accomplish a lot. But like I’ve talked about before, this is a work in progress all the time. You’ve got to stay focused on the process to try to continue to make the next game the most important game, the next season the most important season, developing the team every year. We certainly look forward to those challenges.
“I’m not sure, regardless of what I say, that anybody believes what I say, because I say it all the time. This is what we’re happy doing. This is what we like to do. But nobody really believes that. So, you know, maybe it doesn’t matter. I don’t know what I have to say or do, but it’s kind of funny to me. Plus y’all asked the wrong person. [My wife] Miss Terry makes all the decisions about all this stuff anyway.”
The Browns also are interested in University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly, but the Philadelphia Eagles are expected to make a heavy push to hire him to succeed coach Andy Reid, La Canfora reported.
New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels would be a strong candidate to coach the Browns if they chose someone from the professional ranks, La Canfora reported. McDaniels, a Canton native, compiled a record of 11-17 as coach of the Broncos (2009-10).
Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Globe reported earlier this month that Saban, Kelly and McDaniels would be on the Browns’ radar if they fire Heckert and hire NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi to run their personnel department. La Canfora also wrote Lombardi is “a top candidate” to join the Browns’ front office.
Banner and Haslam have repeatedly declined to comment about potential personnel moves.
Broncos wide receiver Brandon Stokley mashed into Browns cornerback Sheldon Brown as he ran across the field with 3:26 left in the second quarter. Brown stayed on the ground for a moment before walking off the field with trainers. He suffered a concussion and did not return.
“[NFL Commissioner] Roger Goodell and them are going to check that [hit] out,” Browns cornerback Joe Haden said.
Nickel cornerback Buster Skrine took Brown’s spot on the outside, and rookie Trevin Wade filled in for Skrine by covering the slot.
The Browns entered the game short at Brown’s position after cutting nickel cornerback Dimitri Patterson on Monday. The shortage didn’t help the Browns’ cause against Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who passed for 339 yards and three touchdowns.
Shurmur and defensive coordinator Dick Jauron declined to explain why Patterson was waived.
“I stay away from the front office stuff that’s going,” strong safety Usama Young said when asked about the decision to cut Patterson. “I take care of business on the field. If you get caught up in that stuff, your head is going to be spinning.”
Brown, who has appeared in 174 consecutive regular-season games, had tight coverage on the Broncos’ first two touchdown passes, but wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker made spectacular catches in the end zone anyway.
“He has amazing coverage,” Haden said. “[Manning] just put it in the one spot he couldn’t get there. He looked like he touched the ball on both of them. [They were] really good plays by the quarterback and the receiver getting control of it.”
Last week, Brown lamented Manning’s ability to connect with his targets even when they face suffocating coverage.
“We played the best quarterback in the league,” Browns defensive end Frostee Rucker said. “They executed. We didn’t. They executed, and we came up quite short.”
Young recorded five tackles and his third interception of the season, which is a career high and is tied for the team lead. He dived to pick off a pass from Manning in the end zone with 14 seconds left in the second quarter, preventing the Broncos from extending their 14-3 lead at halftime. … Wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi (knee), running back Brandon Jackson, free safety Tashaun Gipson (foot), linebacker Adrian Moten, defensive tackle Ishmaa’ily Kitchen (calf), guard Jarrod Shaw and tight end Jordan Cameron (head) were inactive for the Browns. Rucker (shoulder/hip) and tight end Alex Smith (illness/knee) were listed as questionable heading into Sunday, but both of them played. … Eric Hagg started at free safety in place of Gipson, who was hurt Thursday during practice. Young started at strong safety in place of T.J. Ward, who was put on injured reserve Tuesday with a bone bruise on his knee. … First-year linebacker Craig Robertson had a career-high 14 tackles, surpassing his previous best of eight. … Dawson made a 27-yard field goal and a season-long 53-yard field goal. He is 28-of-29 on field-goal attempts this season. His 13 field goals of 50 yards or longer since 2011 are tied for the most in the NFL. … Rookie tight end Brad Smelley made his NFL debut and caught one pass for 3 yards. … Left defensive end Hall Davis made his debut with the Browns and tallied a quarterback hit.
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.