“I couldn't hang my head,” he said at Cleveland’s rookie minicamp last week. “I told everybody not to feel sorry for me, that's the one thing I didn't want."
Indeed, last month’s snub is nothing new for Stribling, who emerged as one of the Wolverines’ top defenders and an All-Big Ten selection last season.
Before that, Stribling was a lightly-regarded recruit out of Butler High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he received just two offers from major college football programs: Ball State and Michigan. In four years, he earned his keep with the Wolverines, totaling 68 tackles, six interceptions and 22 pass breakups -- including a breakout year in 2016 that helped lift the Wolverines to a 10-3 finish.
So when the final day of the draft came and went last month, Stribling was relatively unfazed. He’d been through something like this before.
“I told everybody it’s the same thing, just a different day,” he said.
With that approach in hand, Stribling — who reunites with former teammate and 25th overall pick
Interestingly enough, Peppers and Stribling were key figures in helping Michigan return to national prominence under head coach Jim Harbaugh after a string of disappointing seasons. They could be a part of a turnaround in Cleveland.
“When we first came in, it was a little rocky and the second one was even worse, but we just told each other, the motto there is those who stay become champions,” he said. “So basically we just said we’ve gotta work harder than any other school in the country and stay together. It’s the same way here.”
So when the Browns showed interest in Stribling, he didn’t flinch.
“I like Cleveland, I like that underdog and bringing teams back and being a part of that and building up a program,” Stribling said.
And how he got here doesn't matter.
"I didn't want people to feel sorry for me like I should've got drafted like that," he said. "If I did, I did, if I didn’t, I didn’t — just keep it moving, still competing and still have the same mindset."