Mangini, Cribbs expect WR to play vs. Detroit

BY foxsports • November 20, 2009

Josh Cribbs' neck is still a little sore, but he doesn't mind sticking it out for Baltimore's Dwan Edwards.

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Cribbs said Friday he expects to play in the Cleveland Browns' game at Detroit on Sunday, which will be six days after he was strapped to a backboard and wheeled into an ambulance following a loss to the Ravens on Monday night. Browns coach Eric Mangini said he also expects Cribbs to play.

Edwards was fined $5,000 by the league this week for smashing a forearm under Cribbs' chin on the game's final play. Cribbs had pitched the ball away on a lateral and admitted he had relaxed a bit when Edwards hit him. As a result, he defended Edwards on Friday.

"I don't feel he should've been fined for it," Cribbs said. "It's football. Just as he hit me, I could've hit him blocking for my guy. It happened during the play between the whistles. They have rules in place to protect players, but I don't think it was intentional at all."

After a series of tests, Cribbs was diagnosed with a sprained neck.

His fearlessness has turned the undrafted free agent into a Pro Bowler and one of the NFL's most dangerous return specialists. He insists that won't change now.

"It's going to take a lot to keep me out of the game. I love it too much," Cribbs said. "They'd have to take my gear away for me not to play.

"You expect situations like that, and I just pray and hope I won't end up on the wrong side of it. Things worked out for me this time. I'm going to try to be more aware."

Cribbs has played this season despite wanting a new contract. His agent, J.R. Rickert, blasted the Browns this week for leaving in Cribbs — arguably the team's best offensive threat — for the final play of a game they had no chance to win. Cribbs has done everything the Browns have asked this season while hoping the two sides can work out a new deal soon.

Monday's hit has left him especially irritated that there has been little movement in negotiations.

"This is the exact thing I worry about," Cribbs said. "We're going to make sure we get that handled because it really is a touchy subject for me now. It put a lot of things into perspective getting hurt like that and (knowing) it possibly could have been worse."

Cribbs expects to handle all his regular duties Sunday in the game between two 1-8 teams. Losing Cribbs on offense would have been another devastating blow to a team that has scored just five touchdowns in its last 15 games — the fewest in a 15-game span since 1950. Cleveland's drought is magnified by the fact no Browns receiver has scored since Nov. 2, 2008, and no running back has scored since Nov. 17 of last year.

"It's not to the point where you're going to be hiding under the table. You can't do that. You have to wake up the next day and fight," first-year offensive coordinator Brian Daboll said. "I live this. It's not good enough. I'm the leader of these guys. It's got to be better on my part. They understand what they need to do, too. We're collectively working toward getting that better."

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