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Outside the Game: Josh Cribbs is versatile on the field … and fashionable off it

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

Cleveland Browns receiver/return man Josh Cribbs took an unconventional path to NFL stardom. A running quarterback at Kent State, the undrafted Cribbs came into the league in 2005 as an undrafted free agent, in need of a new skill set. So, though he'd never returned a punt or kick in college (though he did punt 10 times in Kent State's 2004 season), Cribbs turned himself into one of the NFL's all-time most dangerous return men. He has more kick returns and kick return yards than any other current player, and his eight kick return touchdowns is the NFL's all-time mark.

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Josh Cribbs at the 2012 ESPY Awards. (Getty Images)

Once he set a standard in pro football that included two Pro Bowl selections and the three-year contract extension in 2010 that guaranteed him $7 million, Cribbs turned his attention to a new avocation -- a serious interest in personal fashion.

His taste in clothes mirrors his on-field exploits in that Cribbs doesn't want to be seen as a one-trick pony.

"It's good to be versatile," Cribbs recently told Yahoo! Sports. "I don't like to wear the same thing over and over, so people can get a bead on your fashion. I like to wow people."

Cribbs had wanted to be an NFL player since the sixth grade, but his primary off-field interest developed much later, and was engineered by his football success.

"My passion for fashion really started in 2008, at my first Pro Bowl," he said. "I knew all the guys down there were going to be blinged out, wearing the best clothes, and I knew that I needed to fit in. From there, it created itself, and I [went about it] with a purpose. I take a lot of risks, because I feel that I can, but I stay within the GQ-type realm of fashion."

"I think he copies off of me," Cribbs' wife Maria said. "No -- I started picking up different designers, and he said, 'Oh, they make men's stuff, too?'

Cribbs says that he wants his wife to outshine him in a fashion sense, but wishes that they didn't clash so much.

At their Cleveland home, Maria says that her husband has the bigger closet (he has clothes in up to four at the family's home), but Josh disagrees. "I'm half in my closet, and half in another closet."

"You moved out because you had to!" Maria contended.

Are there other NFL players whose fashion sense meets Cribbs' exacting standards?

"Brandon Marshall -- he upped his fashion game. I might have to copy his style a little bit, which is not a bad thing."

Cribbs will even offer fashion advice to his teammates -- unsolicited or not.

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