Rivalry still special for Browns

BEREA, Ohio ? Asked about his success against the

Steelers, which includes returning

three kickoffs for touchdowns since 2006, Cleveland Browns wide

receiver Josh Cribbs credited the emotion he carried into those

matchups.

“We really get up for this game,” Cribbs said about Sunday’s 1

p.m. contest against the

Steelers at Heinz Field.

“I can’t be out in the street or in a public place without

hearing it from fans that they really want a win. You hear it all

season and at camp. They’re not even talking about our first game

sometimes. They’re just talking about the Pittsburgh-Cleveland

Browns matchup. Everyone realizes how important this game is for

us.”

Cribbs had a 98-yard kickoff return in the

Steelers’ 27-14 win over Cleveland

last season. In a late-season rematch, Cribbs rushed eight times

for 87 yards, mostly out of the Wildcat formation, in the Browns’

13-6 upset victory.

Cribbs took offense when reporters asked him this week if the

Browns have confidence in rookie quarterback Colt McCoy, who will

make his first NFL start against the

Steelers. McCoy has been thrust into

the starting role with injuries to Jake Delhomme and Seneca

Wallace.

“He’s well-equipped to go in against the so-called big, bad

Steelers and help us win,” said

Cribbs, who couldn’t resist taking a dig at the Browns’ biggest

rival and toughest opponent.

As much as defeating the Baltimore Ravens means to the

Steelers, that’s how much knocking

off the

Steelers means to the Browns, who

snapped a 12-game losing streak against the

Steelers last season.

“It was something that we looked forward to doing in getting

over the hump. It was something that we needed,” Cribbs said. “It

was a momentum-changer for us. We look forward to doing the same

this year.”

Second-year linebacker Marcus Benard, who didn’t play in the

first meeting against the

Steelers, recorded two sacks in the

second game.

“That was the first thing anyone told me when I came here, to

beat Pittsburgh,” Benard said. “I didn’t quite understand, but that

week, I understood.”

For kicker Phil Dawson, the Browns’ longest tenured player who

joined the team in 1999, it was only his third win in 20 meetings

against the

Steelers.

Despite being on the losing end so many times, Dawson said

Steelers-Browns week has always

held special meaning for him.

“That’s one of those things that makes this week fun,” Dawson

said. “We all have great jobs in this locker room. It’s a blessing

to be in this league. But a lot of us long for that feeling you had

emotionally in college. When you have that rivalry, the tradition

of two programs going against one another.

“As a guy that’s been in this league a long time, it’s fun to

have that twice a year because some of those other games, you kind

of feel like you’re going to work. This feels like playing that

game in the front yard you grew up playing, when you told your

friend, ‘run around the mailbox and I’ll throw it to you.'”

Colt McCoy, who starred at Texas, said the atmosphere entering

tomorrow’s game reminds him of Texas-Oklahoma week.

“Very similar if you want to compare it to college,” McCoy

said.

“It’s a special game for the people in Cleveland,” Dawson said.

“When I got here in ’99, the one opponent every one seemed to talk

about was the Pittsburgh

Steelers. Having been here for 12

years, that definitely has continued to be the case. You can’t go

anywhere ? whether it’s a gas station, supermarket, whatever ?

without someone telling you, ‘beat the

Steelers, just find a way to beat

the

Steelers.'”