The Detroit Lions have had a busy offseason when it comes to special teams. Jason Hanson retired, leading to the Lions signing kickers David Akers and Havard Rugland. The Lions also added punters Sam Martin (via the draft) and Blake Clingan to compete for the starting job at that position.
One spot the Lions haven't necessarily addressed yet is returner. The Lions have plenty of players on the team who could potentially return kicks and punts, but they haven't sought out a player whose specialty is being a returner. Perhaps they are comfortable with the players already on the team, but if the Lions do decide to find a return specialist to replace Stefan Logan, might they decide to bring in Josh Cribbs? ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley reported this on Monday:
Two potential destinations for Cribbs are the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Lions didn't re-sign returner Stefan Logan, and the Buccaneers looked at Washington in free agency.
I'm not sure if this is based on actual information that the Lions are interested in Cribbs or if it's simply connecting the dots on which teams need a returner. In any case, the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot reports that "several teams" are interested in Cribbs, whose knee is now healthy. A knee injury prevented a deal from going forward with the Arizona Cardinals earlier in the offseason, but it sounds like Cribbs is now good to go.
Cribbs is certainly a solid option if the Lions are indeed interested in adding a return specialist. He went to the Pro Bowl last season after averaging 27.4 yards per kick return and 12.0 yards per punt return for the Cleveland Browns. Since entering the NFL in 2005, Cribbs has 8 career kick return touchdowns and 3 career punt return touchdowns.
As a receiver, Cribbs isn't nearly as consistent. He only had 7 receptions last season, but he did catch 41 passes for 518 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2011. If the Lions were to sign him, he would likely be a contributor on special teams first and a receiver second anyway, so they wouldn't necessarily be relying on his pass-catching skills.
As the Lions look to fill some of their remaining needs before training camp, do you think they should give Cribbs a call?