Former Kent State quarterback Joshua Cribbs is happy with the development he has seen from his alma mater.
Kent State University looks a lot different than it did when Joshua Cribbs left the Portage County campus in 2004.
The former Golden Flashes quarterback and three-time Pro Bowler with the Cleveland Browns came back to Kent State for the Golden Flashes' pro day Thursday, where several aspiring professional football players worked out in front of scouts from the NFL.
"It gets better every year," Cribbs said of Kent State's pro day. "My pro day was not set up like this. It just consisted of a couple cones, no bleachers, no dividers, nothing like that, and half the people, not even. We had five scouts here, and that's it, so the opportunity was limited for us at that time."
For Cribbs, coming back to Kent State is a reminder of what it took to go from an undrafted free agent to a three-time Pro Bowler.
"Coming back to Kent, it's always a blessing to me, just to see where it all began for me, where it all started," Cribbs said. "Just looking at the field house behind me, I'm remembering all of the hard work, dedication that was needed to be put in to get where I am today.
"The coaching staff's changed a bit, but fortunately, they've been able to bring in ex-players that went to Kent State that know what it means to play and the tradition and the heritage of it. A lot of athletes that come through here, they don't know how important Kent State is until they're gone. Myself too. I cherish it so much. It all began here. Every time I come back, it's an eye-opening experience. This is where it all began."
Cribbs went undrafted in 2005, and had to beat out two other players for the 53rd and final spot on the Browns' roster at the end of training camp. From there, Cribbs went on to become a three-time Pro Bowl kick returner.
In eight years with the Browns, Cribbs registered 10,015 yards and eight touchdowns on kickoff returns. He added another 2,154 yards and three touchdowns on punt returns.
While helping the Browns' special-teams units consistently rank near the top of the NFL, Cribbs felt he, along with former Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison and San Diego tight end Antonio Gates, was carrying the banner for all past, present and future Kent State football players.
"I really believe that a lot of us who are in the league from Kent State opened the doors for the guys now," Cribbs said. "It started out with three or four scouts here, and now, there's several, 10, 12, 13. A lot of different teams, the Colts, the Raiders, just come in to see the level of talent that Kent State has been able to put out.
"One year, we had three Pro Bowlers from Kent State, and I was in that number, three All-Decade, the same guys from one school. That tells you a snippet of our talent level that we put out there. Just to see how far Kent has come since I've been here to where they are now, to having locker rooms, a track team in here, new additions to the field, the organization has taken a turn for the better."