Josh Cribbs and Webster Slaughter will be inducted into the Browns Legends program in 2020.
Cribbs, who starred as a quarterback at Kent State University, and Slaughter are scheduled to be honored during a halftime ceremony Sept. 27 when the Browns host Washington at FirstEnergy Stadium, the team announced Thursday.
"It is always special to spend time with and celebrate Browns alumni, and we are incredibly proud to recognize Webster Slaughter and Josh Cribbs — two of our team’s greats that are also exceptional men — as the newest Browns Legends members," Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a news release. "We deeply appreciate everything they, along with all of our alumni, have done for the Browns on the field and how they continue to contribute to our team and our community in meaningful ways."
Cribbs joined the Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2005 and spent eight seasons with them. He became a fixture on special teams, returning eight kickoffs for touchdowns and making three Pro Bowls.
Cribbs, who owns 11 Browns return records and sits in a tie for first with the most kickoff return touchdowns in NFL history, finished his Cleveland career with 11 special teams TDs, 10,015 kickoff return yards and 2,154 punt return yards. He finished his 10-year career tied for third in NFL history with 13,488 career return yards and ranked third in kickoff return yards (11,113) and fifth in career return TDs (11).
"When I look at my time here in Cleveland and everything I've been able to bring to the team — being undrafted and my value to the team and what it meant not just to the team but to the city — it was kind of confirmation that they think that Cribbs guy, he did a job well done, so much so he's a legend to us," Cribbs said in the release. "That means everything to me."
Cribbs also had 1,175 receiving yards, 808 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on offense. He led the team in special-teams tackles four times and compiled 125 special-teams tackles with the Browns.
"I just tried to embody everything Browns fans stand for," Cribbs said. "Cleveland is not as big as New York City or LA. We’re just a hard-working, football town, blue-collar to the core. I embodied what they stood for, having to start from nothing, undrafted, having to fight my way onto the team, having to be in a position lower on the team … They lived through me and every game and every time I would encounter a fan, they would tell a story of how bad they wanted us to win or a story of when they were at the game in the stands and they wanted me to win so bad.
"I hear all these stories and I used to take it to the field knowing the fans are rooting for me. I would take all that energy and it would boost me during the game."
Slaughter, a 1986 second-round pick out of San Diego State, made an immediate impact in helping the Browns to back-to-back AFC Championship games.
"It was amazing," Slaughter said in the release. "At the time of my life, that was the most exciting thing I'd ever been a part of. The way the team came together, the camaraderie between all the players and how the city jumped behind the team and drove us, really, to those championship games, it was one of the most special times of my life."
Slaughter had his best statistical season in 1989, when he made his first of two Pro Bowls after catching 65 passes for 1,236 yards and six TDs.
In six seasons with the Browns, Slaughter caught 305 passes for 4,834 yards and 27 TDs. He finished his career with stops in Houston, Kansas City, New York (Jets) and San Diego. He made the Pro Bowl in 1993 with the Oilers and finished his NFL career with 8,111 yards and 44 TDs.
"I will never forget my six years in Cleveland," Slaughter said. "I played in other places but none of those places ever gave me the feeling that I had when I played for the Cleveland Browns. It was a different feeling and totally special.
"If I had to pick another team to play for, I would pick the Cleveland Browns. I couldn't pick another team. I had so much fun that I didn't know I was going to have. I met so many friends I didn't know I would meet. It was the most exciting set of fans to play for."
To qualify as a Browns Legend, a player must have played for the team for at least five years, been a major contributor and been retired from the NFL for at least five years. An eight-person selection panel chooses the players who are honored in the program that started in 2001.