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Browns embrace rivalry with Steelers

Posted Nov 24, 2012

The veteran Browns have embraced the opportunity to teach their young teammates the meaning of the rivalry with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Cleveland Browns celebrate Thanksgiving weekend by welcoming their greatest rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, to Cleveland Browns Stadium for Sunday’s AFC North Division battle.

The Browns have finished their regular-season series with the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals already and went 1-3 in those games. Having been a part of 14 Browns-Steelers games, eight-year veteran wide receiver/return specialist Joshua Cribbs knows what a win over Pittsburgh would mean.

“It would mean everything for the city and for our fans,” Cribbs said. “That’s why I’m going to be egging the guys on, not that they need it, but I’m still going to be saying, ‘You know what this means for our city. You know what this means. We lost a lot of games, but we can make it right.’ Our coaches are letting everybody know what it means because this rivalry is everything to us and our fans.”

Browns coach Pat Shurmur added, “It would be our third victory. It’s a division game and it’s a game played at home, so as we move forward, into our last five games, it would be something good to build on.”

According to Cribbs, winning the game also would be a step toward getting the Browns what they want, respect.

“You only get respect when you win,” Cribbs said. “They’re going to leave the game saying, ‘Yeah, they beat us up,’ but they move onto their season. You get respect around the league when you win games. It’s not good enough. We’ve got to start winning games. We’ve played hard. We got that. We do that. Now, let’s start winning games.”

Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden has played in four AFC North Division games and started in hostile environments throughout the league through the first 10 weeks of his rookie season. However, the Browns signal-caller is looking forward to experiencing his first Browns-Steelers game.

“I’m excited about it,” Weeden said. “The first thing I heard from fans when I got to town was, ‘If you beat the Steelers, you don’t buy a steak for a long time.’ I’m going to hold some people true to it. It’s not only a divisional game, but they’re close to Cleveland and it’s a rivalry.

“I probably won’t know until after the game what it’s really, really about. I know it’s probably the biggest game on our schedule. Everybody has it circled on their calendars. We’ve grown up following these matchups and I’m looking forward to playing in it for the first time.”

Shurmur has coached in two Browns-Steelers games and while Cleveland has struggled to win against its rivals from Pennsylvania in recent seasons, he considers this meeting to have more emotion involved in it than other games on the schedule.

“I had neighbors and people in the community that tell me how important it is and what it means to beat the Steelers,” Shurmur recalled. “In playing the games, you feel that, whether it be on the sideline or from the crowd. You feel what it means and I know our players know. I know our young players are being educated about it.

“We’re in the division; we’re geographically close and it just naturally is. We’re competitive. We’re in the same division; we live close together and you compete. That’s what you do and that’s why it’s a rivalry.”

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