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Browns asking Cribbs to play running back

BEREA — Cleveland’s Josh-of-all-trades is ready to take on yet another new position.

It’s not enough that Josh Cribbs, the Browns’ do-everything playmaker, returns kickoffs and punts, plays gunner on special teams, lines up at wide receiver and as a quarterback in the wildcat information. Cribbs wouldn’t object to playing running back.

And after watching him slice through Pittsburgh’s defense, Browns Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas thinks Cribbs would be a great one.

“There’s no doubt,” Thomas said. “I think he’s too valuable to take off of kick return and punt return and special teams, but there’s no doubt in my mind, especially after seeing the things that he did that he’d be an extremely successful running back in the NFL.”

Browns coach Eric Mangini just might give it a try.

Lining up in the shotgun last Thursday night, Cribbs rushed for 87 yards as the Browns upset the Steelers 13-6 for just their second win this season. Cribbs, a former college QB, had a career-long 37-yard run to help set up Cleveland’s only touchdown and the dreadlocked dynamo broke off a crucial 14-yard run on a 3rd-and-11 play in the fourth quarter when the Browns were trying to eat up some time.

Cribbs, whose agent has had on-and-off negotiations on a contract extension with the Browns for months, doesn’t mind multitasking. He’s done it since high school, where he earned varsity letters in football, baseball, basketball and swimming.