Josh Cribbs has absorbed a few massive, crushing blows that initiate the male animal instinct to jump up, wave a towel that was inexplicably sitting nearby, and yell OOOHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!1.

First, there was this…

That was in 2010, and it led to a concussion and a one-game absence. The James Harrison hit came early in a season that saw a weekly circus of head banging that eventually led to drastic off-season rules to curb the practice of launching at heads. Those rules were equally polarizing and protective, with blood thirsty fans saying they’re no longer entertained and they feared the demise of their gladiator sport, while the rest of us realized that evolution is a natural process of our civilized world.

Then a week ago, this happened

Cribbs doesn’t remember this hit, mostly because one does not remember events that occur during a time of unconsciousness. Time elapsed without Cribbs’ knowledge of its passing, as he was knocked out once Dannell Ellerbe‚Äôs shoulder made contact with his head.

He regained consciousness quickly, and even wanted to go back into the game. That’s because he’s an athlete, and while we have an instinct to either yell loudly at a television or wince when a player is crunched, his instinct is to play, regardless of how scary a hit looked.

His family was far less enthusiastic about that idea. They wanted him to stop playing, and not just for that game. Forever.

From the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:

Josh Cribbs’ wife, Maria, cried hysterically when she watched her husband get knocked out cold in Baltimore Thursday night and remain motionless on his back for what seemed to her like an eternity.

Even as the Browns’ kick returner/receiver came to and wobbled off the field, she was ready for him to be done with football.


So was his brother Harold, who’s been his biggest supporter throughout his career.

“Everyone was calling and couldn’t stop crying,” said Cribbs, who has two young children. “My brother, who’s the reason why I’m playing football, even he wants me to stop.”

Also, this…

“They’re saying, ‘I know you love the game but we don’t want you to play anymore,’” he said of his own family. “They’re like, ‘Family’s more important. You’ve got so many years of your life. You’ve showed enough good football.’”

Cribbs suffered a concussion, and along with the Harrison hit it was at least the second concussion of his career. It was evidently a mild one as he practiced yesterday, and he’s on track to play and be the primary returner for the Browns as per usual this weekend in their game against the Giants.

He says he’s fine, and he feels great. Check back with us in about six years, Josh.