Josh Cribbs has never forgotten the thrill of what it's like to play under Friday Night Lights.
Cribbs, who attended Dunbar High School in Washington D.C., remembers his high school football days just as fondly as his legendary 10-year NFL career. The treat of playing for his high school under the "primetime" stage was his first taste of playing football at a high level, and he's all about ensuring other high school football athletes can experience the same feeling.
That's why he took the podium Tuesday at Bump Taylor Field, which hosts athletic events for Senate League sports, to commemorate the funding for installation of a new lighting system, courtesy of FirstEnergy, that will empower both schools to host more games and events — in addition to, of course, Friday night football.
"They're going to have Friday Night Lights on this field, and that's exciting," Cribbs said. "That's the next level. For me to be involved with that and see the young men, knowing how important it is for them, it's amazing. I was one of them before."
Cribbs was joined by Browns VP of Community Relations Jenner Tekancic, FirstEnergy VP of Corporate Affairs & Community Involvement Lorna Wisham and Glenville High School Head Coach Ted Ginn Sr. to make the announcement at the field, which also received new high-quality synthetic turf in 2016 through the Browns Give Back's and the Haslam and Johnson families' field initiatives during an announcement with Eric Gordon, CEO and Superintendent of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The initiatives have provided 11 sites in Ohio with new turf fields.
Ginn, the father of 14-year NFL veteran Ted Ginn Jr., said the lights will make a true difference to the amount of time the Glenville football team is able to practice. The team had to either cut practices short or find another field with lights to practice last season as it geared up for the state playoffs, and Ginn is proud to see that the team will no longer have to battle with sunlight to conduct team activities.
"I think it helps our community," he said. "You can come through, see the lights and now we look like a regular high school football field. It's been a long time coming, and with the addition of lights, it's going to be something huge. It's just going to brighten up the whole community."
That was the top goal for FirstEnergy, which also supplied Glenville and John Hay High Schools with new football uniforms. The Browns were proud to celebrate FirstEnergy's donation as it applies to their core principles of the Stay in the Game, Keep Learning Every Day!Network, which is designed to promote the importance of school attendance and put an end to chronic absenteeism.
"It's always great to make these kinds of investments right here at home," Wisham said. "This is gonna light up the community area and draw attention, which potentially may bring more additional and economic development opportunities here in this community."
The announcement of the light installation was made during the Browns' annual "10 Days of Giving" initiative as they strive to lift the spirits of those in need throughout Northeast Ohio during the holiday season. The community engagement program, initially inspired by the Browns' signature #give10 First and Ten volunteer movement, fully encompasses the team's dedication to education and combatting chronic absenteeism in Ohio through the Stay in the Game! Network, its focus on enhancing youth and high school football throughout the state and its commitment to addressing social justice issues.