Friday, April 25, 2014

Bernie Kosar

Bernie Kosar. 
Bernie, Bernie, Bernie.

Bernie Kosar was the last winning quarterback that most Browns fans remember. I say most because he hasn't played for the Browns since 1993. If you aren't old enough to drink a beer, you weren't even *born* when he played.  Let that one rattle around your brain for a second. 

Ouch. 

To Browns fans, Bernie has been, and will always be, one of the most beloved players that Cleveland has ever seen. There are some of you reading this thinking, maybe even shouting, what about Josh Cribbs!? Joe Haden!? Greg Little!?  Yes, yes, those are fine Browns players. Maybe one day, fans will talk about them the way fans talk about Bernie. 

Maybe. 

Bernie has set himself apart from any other Cleveland sports figure, with maybe the exception of Jim Brown, being synonymous with the sport he played.  First, he is a hometown guy that fought and clawed to play for the Browns. Actually, he was from Youngstown and could have been a Steelers fan, but he wasn't, so bonus points there. The Browns were 5-11 and he wanted to come to Cleveland. There was never any question, and there still is no question, what the Browns mean to Bernie. In his recent press release (I'll get to that in a minute), he said, "I want everyone to know that I still bleed Brown and Orange."  

Athletes, star athletes, come and go in this city and how many still speak fondly of Cleveland? How many still stay connected to the fans? Last home town kid that made a splash and left was Lefoolio. He is the opposite of Bernie.  Lefoolio was more interested to bolt and play for South Beach and did not and *does not* give a fuzzy rat butt about Cleveland or the fans of this city. 

Kosar *wanted* to be in Cleveland, not this razzle dazzle song and dance that draft potentials spout off now. Let's be honest, do you really believe Johnny Football wants to come to Cleveland? He may want to be here for a lucrative contract, but that's it. He isn't a fan of the team. He doesn't care about the city. Argue if you want, we all know I'm right.  JFF or any of the other draft prospects could care less about the fans and city. I'm not saying it is wrong or it isn't their right, I'm pointing out a clear difference. Bernie fought to come here. 

During his time as an NFL player, Bernie played without a mouth guard, something that is unheard of today. Mouth guards help protect against concussions. Interestingly enough, in an interview with WKYC, Bernie talked about having at least 10. In addition to countless operations and pain, he has lingering effects from his concussions on the field. He has involuntary twitches, memory loss and slurred speech. 

Yesterday, Cleveland station WKYC removed Bernie from his color commentary role during the Browns preseason. A mistake, that in my opinion, is a doozey. 

Bernie has a unique perspective in to the game and and his analysis is appreciated. He has great football acumen, even if his delivery may be at times, slurred.  Bernie believes that part of the reason he lost his job is due to his injuries, and slurred delivery. Let me be the first to tell WKYC, that if that is indeed even a portion of the reason he was let go - that is garbage and you should be ashamed. 

Some fans suggested that Bernie was sacked in part because of his critical commentary of the Rams during a preseason game. Poor Coach Jeff Fisher called the wahmbulance to complain about Bernie when he said, "he can't stand to watch" their quarterback play.  I'm not sure why we care what an opposing team's coach says about our preseason commentators, but they did. 

It is all ridiculous. I don't know if it was a miscalculation on the part of WKYC or the Browns, but removing Bernie Kosar from the preseason team was not the best move. People aren't watching preseason football games for the stellar play. They are watching to hear the banter and analysis between Jim Donovan and Bernie. 

If Bernie's slurring was a problem, or something else, fix it. Clearly he still wants to be a part of the team. This whole "we have a bigger role" for Bernie in the works is a weaselly thing to say.  Tell us all about the big plans...tell Bernie about the big plans. I'm interested and listening.

I hope that WKYC and the Browns reconsider and include Bernie somehow in preseason. 

Bernie greeting fans. Larry Hamel-Lambert/The Plain Dealer

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