Cribbs, Brown graduate from college

Posted May 16, 2010

On Saturday afternoon, Joshua Cribbs became the second Browns player in as many weeks to earn his college degree.

Browns two-time Pro Bowl kick returner Joshua Cribbs electrified the football fans at Kent State University’s Dix Stadium from 2001-2004. His abilities on the football field earned him the title of three-time team captain and four-time Offensive Most Valuable Player for the Golden Flashes.

Even with all of those accomplishments, Cribbs’ greatest moment as a Golden Flash might have come on Saturday afternoon when he received his degree in communication studies - with a focus in interpersonal communication and public speaking - from the school.

To follow Cribbs' journey on graduation day, click here.

“It feels great to just reach an accomplishment,” Cribbs said after the ceremony. “I feel like I passed a milestone in my life. Making it to the NFL, as great as that felt, this feels better. To have this diploma in my hands, I don’t want to let it go. I’m holding it like a football right now.

“Everyone who starts something should finish,” he added. “A lot of times, people find their niche and what they want to do in life in college and they don’t finish, but I encourage whoever it is to go out and continue your education for yourself.”

“Josh has always been a great leader from his time here as a freshman all the way through his senior year and always exemplified excellence in everything he did and this is just another example,” said Kent State football coach Doug Martin. “It’s really big because as they all know, your NFL career is not going to last forever and after that’s over, you’re going to want something that you can excel in. Any time he sets his mind to something, it’s going to get done.”

“He stuck in there and got his degree when there were lots of ways where he could not have stayed to earn a degree,” Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Bob Frank said. “We want all of our students to earn a degree and he’s a great example of perseverance and the ability to stick to his goals and accomplish what he set out to accomplish. He’s the best example we could have and most important, he’s a fine person.”

Part of the reason Cribbs came back was because of his children, daughter Kimorah and son Israel. Cribbs also wanted to make sure he honored all of his parents’ hard work in helping him reach his goals.

“As soon as I got out of college and made it to the NFL, my mom stayed on me, as well as my wife, saying, ‘Hey, you’ve got to finish up and get your degree,’” said Cribbs. “At that time, I was worrying about staying in the NFL, but after I solidified myself as an NFL player, I knew the next step was completing my degree.”

“As his kids get older, he’s going to want them to know that he got his degree and I think it’s also very important for his parents, who have been very supportive of Josh” Martin said. “I don’t think they ever missed a football game at Kent State that he played in. I know it’s really important for his mom and dad.”

As he walked across the stage, Cribbs’ family could not have been more proud.

“We’ve been talking about it for a while now,” said Cribbs’ mother Billye. “It’s just a milestone and not just for himself; for his family, all of those who look up to Josh. When he first recognized that he was who he was, a star on the team, I said, ‘Joshua, sometimes God puts you in front to be a role model to give other people hope.”

“It’s been hard because of his schedule, but he knows he needed to finish it,” Cribbs’ wife Maria said. “My little girl would see him with his books and his notebooks and she’d crawl up on the couch with him with her books. When she sees her parent doing that, I think she’ll want to go in that direction as well.”

Cribbs was not the only Browns player to receive his degree during the offseason.

Before Cribbs graduated Saturday afternoon, one of the newest members of the Browns, defensive back Sheldon Brown, received his diploma from the University of South Carolina over the Mother’s Day weekend.

Brown earned his degree in sports administration.

“It was very important to me because it was something my mom wanted me to do when I entered college,” Brown said. “It sets you up for your post NFL career. In today's world, that piece of paper is very important, sometimes more so than having the actual experience.

“It was an exciting moment, especially being able to share it with my family,” he added. “Being drafted into the NFL and graduating are moments that money can't buy. It also gives members of my family goals and it's something for them to shoot for.”

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