Draft Memories: Josh Cribbs recalls advice that changed his football career

Former Kent State quarterback embraced a position change, and an opportunity
Draft Memories
Draft Memories(WOIO)
Updated: Apr. 23, 2021 at 3:50 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Sometimes, the advice you don’t want to hear is the best advice.

Josh Cribbs can tell you that. The D.C. native wanted to go home and play for Washington during the 2005 Draft.

“I assumed that they were gonna call,” Cribbs says. “That’s what they told me.”

Josh Cribbs
Josh Cribbs(Josh Cribbs)

But ... they didn’t call, and that turned out to be greatest thing that could have happened.

Because Washington had the wrong role in mind.

“I was working out with them (pre-Draft) as a quarterback, and a scout for the Browns told me at the Las Vegas Senior Bowl that if anybody wants to use you as a quarterback, they want to use you as a camp body,” Cribbs said. “They want to use you as a free agent that’s gonna go into training camp and try to compete for a spot, but they’re not serious about you. They’re talking about the practice squad, and we want you to be our returner right now.”

That wasn’t easy to hear. Cribbs, as we all know, had an incredible dual-threat career as a quarterback at Kent State. But this was a way in.

Josh Cribbs
Josh Cribbs(Josh Cribbs)

“I had that mentality, and I said this to the media, and Tony, you probably interviewed me at some point in my rookie season, I said this to you, too: I would have played line if they would have had me play line, I would have played defensive tackle, whatever it took to play in the National Football League, I would have been willing to do.”

Well, what he did do ... return kicks ... he did better than anyone else in NFL history. By the time Cribbs was done after ten seasons in the league, he had racked up more than 11,000 kickoff return yards and a record-tying eight touchdowns on kickoffs.

But back to 2005. His phone didn’t ring until after the draft had ended, but when it did ring, it was the right team calling. And Josh Cribbs was ready.

“Always be prepared for this opportunity,” Cribbs said. “It’s better to have an opportunity and be prepared, than to not be prepared for the opportunity and then it comes up.

“All it takes is for one coach to see that ability in you, all it takes is one scout to see that ability in you, and then you have the opportunity to show them what you’re made of.”

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