Cardinals deal with Josh Cribbs on hold until full recovery

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Arians is very high on Cribbs, but he wants to wait until the talented return specialist is fully healthy before signing him.

New Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is high on former Browns return specialist Joshua Cribbs, but he wants to wait until Cribbs is fully healthy before signing him to a contract, according to The Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot.

Arians spoke at length about Cribbs' potential during the league's annual meetings, saying that he sees the former Brown as much more than a return specialist due to his athleticism and versatility:

"I would love to have him if he can get healthy,'' Arians said at the NFC coaches breakfast today.

"He's a dynamic player in a lot of phases, not just special teams. Obviously he's one of the best [special-teams players] ever. But I think he can do some things offensively to help us become more dynamic."

Cribbs passed the physical he took with the Cardinals on Monday, according to his agent, JR Rickert, but Arians and the Cardinals felt it was safer to wait to sign him to a long-term deal until his knee is fully healed, a process that could reportedly take up to five weeks.

If Cribbs sits on the market without being signed over that period of time and ends up signing with the Cardinals, Arians has already made some plans on how to utilize him in a way the Browns never did:

"I'm not a Wildcat guy, but he can get his hands on the football quickly without taking it from the quarterback and using him in a lot of different ways with a package."

Arians said that because Cribbs size and the fact that he's a physical player, he may have a role to play in the team's backfield, if he's signed, and especially as a receiver:

"That's the part I'd like to get my hands on to find out about,'' he said. "Get him out on the grass and see what his positives and his negatives are as a receiver. I know once he gets his hands on the football how dynamic he can be. It's where do you put him to get his hands on the football."

In his eight seasons with the Browns, Cribbs has been one of the most dynamic return specialists in the league, returning eight kickoffs and three punts for touchdowns. He hasn't, however, been involved nearly as much as a receiver, despite his size, speed and athletic ability. In 2012 he only caught seven passes for 63 yards and in his career he has 1,161 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He has also added two rushing touchdowns over the last eight seasons.

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