"If you attend a press conference, you need to ask a question."
That was what I was telling myself as then-Bowling Green football coach Urban Meyer and his coaches were leaving the media area after the then-No. 18 Falcons had won big at Kent State.
It was 2002, and I was still in college, writing for the BG News. It was just the second football game I ever covered, and I'd failed to ask a question the week before, when the Falcons beat Ball State.
I'd been beating myself up for a week. Being at a big press conference when you're a student can be intimidating, but I told myself not to waste this opportunity. Now Meyer and the BG players had departed. In my mind, I had one more shot.
Into the conference room marched then-Kent State coach Dean Pees (a former Elmwood High School coach and a graduate of Hardin Northern), with a couple players.
After losing by a few touchdowns, Pees was in a sour mood. He answered a few questions.
"Coach," I heard myself say, "why did you go for it on fourth down in the first quarter."
This wasn't as bad as a second guess as it sounds. Kent State got the first down, after all. I just wanted to know if KSU was approaching the game against the Falcons in an uber-aggressive mode.
"Because," Pees answered, "I've got this guy right here."
The man next to him was Josh Cribbs.
Cribbs was everything to the Golden Flashes back then. The then-sophomore did it all for Kent State as its quarterback.
In 2002 he threw for more than 1,000 yards and rushed for 1,015 with 10 touchdowns.
He got even better over the next two seasons, finishing his college career with 3,670 yards rushing with 38 TDs. He threw for more than 7,100 yards and 45 touchdowns. He even caught three TDs at Kent State.
But numbers didn't tell the story. In college, he appeared even more elusive and tough than he did in the NFL, if that were even possible.
I saw Cribbs play in college once more - when Kent State came to BG in 2003. After that game, I told everyone who would listen (and a few who wouldn't) that Cribbs was gonna be a star in the NFL.
I was right and wrong.
Cribbs did become a star. But it wasn't at quarterback, as I had figured.
The kid wasn't even drafted, and the Browns took a flier on him before the 2005 season.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Cribbs became the greatest returner in Browns history, as well as a strong overall special teams player and receiver.
In his career, Cribbs has returned eight kickoffs and three punts for touchdowns.
But again, the stats don't tell the story. In his eight years with the Browns, Cribbs has been a guy who gave everything he had every time he was on the field, and did everything the team asked of him. Play Wildcat? Sure.
Running back? They didn't, but they should have.
Cribbs also has been outgoing with the fans, passionate about his team, and his teammates, and unaffected by his success. He played just as hard in 2012 as he did in 2005.
Fellow A-T writer Pat Magers and I used to have a friendly disagreements about Cribbs' value. I contended Cribbs ranked as one of the best players in Browns history. Pat said I was nuts.
My thought is in the last eight years, if you think about the best moments for this franchise, Cribbs was involved in just about all of them.
Sure, the Browns haven't had many, but Cribbs was at times the reason for hope, the reason to believe something big might happen.
As of this writing, Cribbs is a free agent. He's been rumored to be signing with the Cardinals, but that isn't official.
Cribbs will be 30 in June, and it's likely his best days are behind him. It's understandable why the Browns don't want to give him another big contract.
But it just won't look right to see Cribbs playing his home games anywhere but northern Ohio. No matter where he goes, he'll always be a special player to me, someone I covered who went onto play for my favorite team and make it big.
Thanks for the memories, Josh.