Cribbs will skip Browns’ minicamp in contract dispute

Joshua Cribbs (center) plans to avoid voluntary minicamp amidst his contract dispute with the Cleveland Browns. (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

According to his agent, Joshua Cribbs (center) plans to avoid the Browns' voluntary minicamp because of a contract dispute. (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

Joshua Cribbs has provided a wealth of positive returns for the Cleveland Browns. He wishes they would do the same. Until they do, the former Pro Bowl return specialist plans to avoid voluntary workouts, beginning with a non-mandatory, three-day minicamp that starts Tuesday.

Cribbs, according to his agent, J.R. Rickert, believes the Browns have reneged on a pledge to address the terms of a six-year contract extension that Cribbs signed in 2006, one year after he made the team as an undrafted free agent.

That pledge, Rickert acknowledged, was made by then-head coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Phil Savage, who were both fired after last season. However, Rickert said Browns owner Randy Lerner called Cribbs after the 2008 season and told him that even though there were coaching and management changes, Cribbs’ contract eventually would be addressed.

The Browns released a statement Monday in which new GM George Kokinis said, “No one from this current Browns’ organization, including owner Randy Lerner, has ever made any promises to Josh Cribbs with regard to his contract status.”

Rickert said he has approached Kokinis twice this offseason about discussing Cribbs’ contract and was told that those talks might be held later in the offseason. Rickert also said there has been no “meaningful dialogue,” and that Cribbs is now to the point where trust has become an issue. If the Browns were to open good-faith discussions, Cribbs likely would participate in all team workouts and activities, voluntary or not, Rickert said.

Cribbs is due to earn $620,000 in base salary next season. Including next season, Cribbs is due $2.7 million in base salary over the next four years.

Steve Wyche

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