Posted on a door in the football offices at Kent State University, a glossy photo print catches the eye of Josh Cribbs, the multipurpose threat for the Cleveland Browns. In the photo, Cribbs and James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers flank San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates for a group shot at the 2009 NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii.
Cribbs, Harrison and Gates are arguably the best players in the league at their positions. Just consider they’ve combined for 13 Pro Bowls since 2004.
This particular photo, however, represents more than a group of supremely talented men celebrating their excellence. It also signifies that athletes can realize their dreams when they make the sacrifices and put forth the effort to get what they want from life. Cribbs, Harrison and Gates aren’t products of powerhouse football programs. They all got their start at Kent State University.
Just because they were shunned by major D-I college football, they didn’t give up hope of making it to the NFL (although Gates had his sights set on playing in the NBA).
The disappointments would continue. Although he dominated the Mid-American Conference as a quarterback, Cribbs was signed as an undrafted free agent out of college. Harrison and Gates also went undrafted.
All of that is history now, but the place where their success is rooted will never be forgotten.
Cribbs is best known for taking kickoffs to the house at an NFL stadium near you. This time around, in the video above, the special teams ace plays host while showing off his first home away from the home, the school where he first made a name for himself.
Illustration by Dave Kiss