Josh Cribbs is back with the Cleveland Browns, but instead of returning kickoffs, he’ll start his career off on the bottom rung as a team intern.
Former Cleveland Browns star Josh Cribbs‘ wasn’t suppose to make in the NFL.
As a player at Kent State he was a run-first quarterback who earned the nickname, “Michael Vick of the MAC” for the mesmerizing plays he made with his legs.
But a pro career as a quarterback would never be in the cards.
Cribbs went undrafted and received just $5,000 from then GM Phil Savage to join the Browns as an undrafted free agent.
The organization made it clear to to the former field general: Your days of quarterback are history.
But with a focus on special teams and a relentless work ethic, Cribbs became a special teams superstar.
He ended his career with eight kickoff returns for a touchdown, the most in NFL history. With the NFL phasing out the play, Cribbs’ achievement promises to stand the test of time. His work on special teams earned him three trips to the Pro Bowl.
He even turned that $5,000 signing bonus into a career that netted $16.5 million in cash earnings.
Remember, we’re talking about a special teams player here.
But “can’t” was never a word in Cribbs’ vocabulary and he proved himself year in and year out as younger players earning less money were gunning for his job.
Now, Cribbs is trying parlay the work ethic that made him a Browns’ star into a possible coaching career.
He’ll join the Browns’ intern program as a special teams assistant, according to Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto, who appeared on WKSU to talk about the next chapter in Cribbs’ life.
Cribbs went back to Kent, graduating with a degree in communications in 2010. He had enrolled in Baldwin Wallace’s MBA program when he found the internship program with the Browns.
"“[The internship program is] kind of what they do with anyone who has some potential but is really starting at the bottom,” Pluto said."
You’d be foolish to bet against Cribbs if he desires to move up the coaching ladder, however, Pluto talked about the difficulties adjusting from player to coach.
"“The hard thing for Josh is he’s going to be on the sidelines, and he’s going to watch some guy not cover the punt right or run the kickoff right and he’s just going to want to tear his head off,” Pluto said. “The frustration that I can’t go out and play and in Josh’s mind, he tried to never waste the opportunities.”"
Current Browns may not be old enough to remember Cribbs’ playing career, but Josh can certainly remind them of his accomplishments–and he should.
Cleveland’s roster is loaded with players filled with potential, but who have done nothing in the NFL.
If they’re smart, they’ll look up Cribbs and see the career he carved out for himself and soak up whatever knowledge he has to offer.