Josh Cribbs, Webster Slaughter to join Browns Legends

Cribbs becomes 1st player in expansion era to join club

Daryl Ruiter
June 18, 2020 - 11:57 pm

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 the Fan) – In their heyday, Webster Slaughter and Josh Cribbs were unstoppable.

This fall Slaughter and Cribbs will be inducted into the Browns Legends club and represent the class of 2020.

Cribbs becomes the first player in the expansion era to receive the honor.

“It is always special to spend time with and celebrate Browns alumni, and we are incredibly proud to recognize Webster Slaughter and Josh Cribbs – two of our team’s greats that are also exceptional men – as the newest Browns Legends members," Dee and Jimmy Haslam said. “We deeply appreciate everything they, along with all of our alumni, have done for the Browns on the field and how they continue to contribute to our team and our community in meaningful ways.”

The dynamic duo will be honored at halftime on Sept. 27 when the Browns host Washington at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Slaughter was selected by the Browns in the second round of the 1986 NFL Draft out of San Diego State. He caught 27 touchdowns in 84 games over six years in Cleveland that saw the Browns win three AFC Central titles, make four playoff appearances and play in three AFC championship games.

“It was amazing,” Slaughter said. “At the time of my life, that was the most exciting thing I'd ever been a part of. The way the team came together, the camaraderie between all the players and how the city jumped behind the team and drove us, really, to those championship games, it was one of the most special times of my life.”

Slaughter’s best season with the Browns came in 1989 that saw him catch 65 passes for 1,236 yards and six touchdowns to earn his first trip to the Pro Bowl. Slaughter’s 97-yard touchdown in Cleveland’s Week 7 win over the Bears was, at the time, the longest in team history and longest in the history of Monday Night Football. He also caught touchdowns of 52 and 44 yards in the Browns’ playoff victory over the Bills.

Slaughter spent three years with Houston and one each in Kansas City and New York with the Jets. After retiring in 1997, Slaughter returned for a final season with the San Diego Chargers.

“I will never forget my six years in Cleveland,” Slaughter said. “I played in other places but none of those places ever gave me the feeling that I had when I played for the Cleveland Browns. It was a different feeling and totally special.

“If I had to pick another team to play for, I would pick the Cleveland Browns. I couldn't pick another team. I had so much fun that I didn't know I was going to have. I met so many friends I didn't know I would meet. It was the most exciting set of fans to play for.”

The Browns signed Cribbs as an undrafted free agent out of Kent State, where he was a quarterback, in 2005 and he went on to establish himself as a premiere returner and special teamer while setting a multitude of franchise records over eight seasons with the Browns.

“When I look at my time here in Cleveland and everything I've been able to bring to the team — being undrafted and my value to the team and what it meant not just to the team but to the city — it was kind of confirmation that they think that Cribbs guy, he did a job well done, so much so he's a legend to us,” Cribbs said. “That means everything to me.”

Cribbs owns 11 franchise records for returns and is tied for the most kickoff returns for touchdowns in NFL history. He returned eight kickoffs and three punts for touchdowns while with the Browns where he racked up 10,015 kickoff return yards and 2,154 punt return yards.

His 13,488 career return yards ranks third in NFL history.

A three-time Pro Bowler, Cribbs led the Browns in special teams tackles four times and totaled 125 special teams tackles in Cleveland.

Offensively, Cribbs tallied 1,175 receiving yards, 808 rushing yards and nine touchdowns for the Browns where he lined up at receiver, running back and quarterback.

“I just tried to embody everything Browns fans stand for,” Cribbs said. “Cleveland is not as big as New York City or LA. We’re just a hard-working, football town, blue-collar to the core. I embodied what they stood for, having to start from nothing, undrafted, having to fight my way onto the team, having to be in a position lower on the team … They lived through me and every game and every time I would encounter a fan, they would tell a story of how bad they wanted us to win or a story of when they were at the game in the stands and they wanted me to win so bad. 

“I hear all these stories and I used to take it to the field knowing the fans are rooting for me. I would take all that energy and it would boost me during the game.”

Cribbs remains active in the Cleveland community in retirement.

He established the TeamCribbs Foundation that holds clothing, toy and food drives regularly and he hosts a daily television show with his wife, Maria, ‘Cribbs in the CLE’ in addition to other forays into local media.