Browns’ Cribbs still proud of his alma mater

Jeff Russ

When Cleveland Browns wide receiver Joshua Cribbs played quarterback for Kent State, the Akron game was always his most important game.

“I always say I want to play hard every game,” he said, “but I definitely wanted to play harder and play a little bit better when we played Akron.”

With the Kent State-Akron rivalry renewing tomorrow in Akron, Cribbs recalled what it was like to be on the field for those games.

“This rivalry was, at the college level, what the Steelers game is like for us in the NFL,” Cribbs said. “At the time Akron was the team and it was the game that meant more to us than any other game we played.”

Cribbs said the close proximity between the two schools made the rivalry that more important.

“We would see those guys everywhere,” Cribbs said. “When we would go to a party, or go out in the city or go to the mall those guys from Akron would be there, so it kind of built up all season.”

The rivalry stayed with Cribbs when he joined the Cleveland Browns in 2005. Former Akron quarterback Charlie Frye also joined the Browns that year.

While Frye played with the Browns, Cribbs said the two didn’t talk trash about each other’s college as much as they tried to make friendly bets on the game.

When the Golden Flashes beat Akron last season, Cribbs put Frye in an embarrassing situation.

“I had a bet with Charlie last year where the loser had to wear the other team’s jersey,” Cribbs said. “The loser couldn’t just wear it in the locker room, they had to wear it on camera in front of everybody.”

But it was not just any Kent State shirt.

“He wore a Kent State jersey with Cribbs on the back,” Cribbs said. “I told him he looked good in the blue and gold.”

There are plenty of big rivalries to go around, but friendly wagers and the close proximity makes everyone in the Browns locker room aware of the rivalry.

“We have a lot of rivalries on the team, Florida State-Florida, Ohio State-Michigan, but a lot of people here talk about the rivalry,” Cribbs said. “They asked if we are really only 15 minuets apart.”

Cribbs said he still follows the team close. He was excited when the team beat Iowa State and he has kept close to the team throughout the season. Cribbs said he is glad to see the program is improving.

“Teams are not taking Kent State for granted anymore,” Cribbs said. “They don’t treat us like a bye week.”

He also said he likes what coach Doug Martin has brought to the team.

“He has done what he said he would set out to do,” Cribbs said. “He has changed the outlook for Kent State and had a lot of high-caliber wins.”

Contact sports reporter Jeff Russ

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