Browns Notes: Clay Matthews Jr., Josh Cribbs headline Hall of Fame candidates

Odell Beckham Jr. puts stop to watch talk

September 12, 2019
Josh Cribbs

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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Berea, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Clay Matthews Jr. and Josh Cribbs headline the list of former Browns eligible for the Hall of Fame class of 2020.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the 122 modern-era nominees eligible for consideration Thursday afternoon.

Matthews, who will become the first non-Hall of Famer to be inducted into the Browns ‘Ring of Honor’ at FirstEnergy Stadium Sept. 22 when his son Clay Matthews III and the LA Rams visit, has been a semifinalist for the Hall on three occasions.

Matthews, who was selected to four Pro Bowls and was named an All Pro three times in his 19-year career, amassed 69.5 sacks from 1983-1996 – the statistic wasn’t counted by the league the first five years of his career, 27 forced fumbles, 14 fumble recoveries, 16 interceptions, 1,561 tackles and played in 278 games — the 17th most in NFL history.

Cribbs is the Browns’ franchise record-holder for career punt return yards, career kickoff return yards, all-purpose yardage in a season, punt return yards in a game, punt return yardage in a season, kickoff return yards in a single season, kickoff returns in a single season, kickoff return yards in a game, career kickoff returns for touchdowns, kickoff returns for touchdowns in a game and kickoff return average in a game.

“I think there is a great argument for my career as a whole,” Cribbs told 92.3 The Fan in an exclusive interview after announcing his retirement in March 2017. “And possibly a new category as well, because they really don’t let special teamers in there. When you look at a special teamer, and if there was a criteria for it, not just as a returner but a cover guy leading my team in tackles and leading the NFL in tackles, being that force on special teams that the league hadn’t seen and do both of those things [I qualify].”

Ten times since 1950 have the Browns had a kick returner rack up over 1,000 return yards – Cribbs, who also served as a gunner on special teams, did it five times. He’s also second – only to Hall of Famer Jim Brown – in all-purpose yardage in franchise history racking up 14,083 yards in eight seasons with the Browns and a total of 15,453 yards for his career – 30th all-time in NFL history.

“The criteria needs to change,” Cribbs said in that 2017 interview. “I think the argument is there but they only like to promote the core guys and special teams has been highly overlooked, even though it wins football games and is instrumental. It’s been highly overlooked from both a coverage as well as returner standpoint.”

Running back-returner-receiver Eric Metcalf, running back Earnest Byner, linebackers Carl Banks, Sam Mills, Willie McGinest and Chris Spielman, offensive tackle Lomus Brown and quarterbacks Jake Delhomme and Jeff Garcia are also eligible for consideration.

Metcalf, who had seven returns for touchdowns in six seasons witht the Browns and was a duel-threat running and catching the ball scoring 26 offenive touchdowns for Cleveland, ranks 16th on the NFL’s All-purpose yards list with 17,230 in his career.

The modern era list will be reduced to 25 in November and trimmed to 15 in early January.

The class of 2020 will include 20 members comprised of five modern era players, 10 seniors – a player who has been retired for 25 or more years, three contributors and two coaches.

A pair of native Clevelanders, Washington linebacker London Fletcher and Bills linebacker Darryl Talley, are also nominated.

Time’s up – Odell Beckham Jr. is tired of questions about the watch he wore last Sunday.

“I’m done talking about the watch,” Beckham said Thursday. “If I wear pink laces and it’s not breast cancer month, it would probably be talked about. With me I know what it is, people just need something to talk about. I have a completely different mentality, different take on where I’m at in my life. I came here to play football. I don’t talk about anything else but football. If anybody wants to talk about how I did, how I produced individually on the field or how I didn’t produce, or how the team lost or whatever it is, we can talk about that.

“I’d love for people to talk about me as a football player. I’d love for them to say I’m not a good football player or things like that. I would love to. You show me those facts, but other than that, I’m not talking about unnecessary stuff that people are mad about. It doesn’t bother me. I’m not losing no sleep over it. If I want to wear it, I’ll wear it, but I’m done talking about it.”

Beer bath – Safety Damarious Randall doesn’t get what all the fuss is about after Titans cornerback Logan Ryan complained a Browns fan showered him and his celebrating teammates with beer Sunday.

Randall felt he got it worse in Oakland when Raiders fans showered him with beer, which he didn’t feel warranted the uproar that has taken place in Cleveland and a possible ban from FirstEnergy Stadium awaiting the offending fan.

“After the interception I celebrated in the end zone, and I got maybe two or three buckets of beer poured on me,” Randall said. “And nothing was said. I just thought that’s the price you pay for playing away. I didn’t really look too much into it. The beer tasted pretty good, too.”

In addition to complaining in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, Ryan tagged the NFLPA, NFL, Titans and Browns in a tweet about the incident that occurred in the Dawg Pound triggering an investigation by NFL security and the Browns.

Bell to ring – While Jets starting QB Sam Darnold will miss Monday night’s game, test results on running back Le’Veon Bell came back positive and the former Steeler plans to be on the field.

“I got great news, my shoulder is fine so no worries...just had to make sure everything was ready to go for Monday night [heart and raised hands in praise emoji] lets get it,” Bell tweeted.

Injury report – DNP: RB Dontrell Hilliard (concussion), OT Kendall Lamm (knee), LB Adarias Taylor (ankle), DL Chris Smith (personal); Limited: WR Rashard Higgins (knee), LG Joel Bitonio (abdomen); Full: WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hip), DT Larry Ogunjobi (shoulder), S Damarious Randall (hand).