The rumors started buzzing out of WKNR on Twitter, and Scott talked about it earlier this week. Now Terry Pluto is speculating about possible destinations and roles in various organizations. As we Clevelanders often do, many are figuring out what this means and how they feel about it.
How do you balance your love for a guy like Bernie and the thought that he could be joining an organization other than the Browns? Is it a betrayal by Bernie to Cleveland? Is it a betrayal by Mike Holmgren and the new leadership in Berea? They already have a track record with former players after the Jim Brown situation and the Browns Ring of Honor stuff last year. Is this starting a pattern?
In a word, no. I can’t tell you how to think, but this is how I am thinking about it.
Bernie Kosar will forever be number 19 here in Cleveland. He will forever be known as the player for the Cleveland Browns. Our loyalty has been unwavering for him over the years including his somewhat tumultuous stints as color commentator for Cleveland Browns pre-season games. It isn’t a requirement that he continues to work here in Cleveland now in order to remain an all-time Cleveland Brown.
Look at Ozzie Newsome. In many ways as Art Modell has remained the number one target of Cleveland sports fans’ vitriol over the years, Ozzie Newsome has been spared. Many of us wish he was in Cleveland with the real Browns, but that has less to do with his history as Ozzie Awesome on the old scoreboard at Cleveland Municipal Stadium and more to do with his tremendous track record as a personnel man in Baltimore.
Maybe the Browns, and subsequently the fans, are missing an opportunity by not employing Bernie Kosar in Berea. If Kosar gets a job outside of Cleveland and lights the world on fire as Newsome has, I am sure we will all curse the day that Kosar wasn’t locked up long-term. Still, jobs and life are all a matter of timing.
With Tom Heckert’s first draft in the books and as he and Holmgren prepare for their second, it hardly seems like an opportune time to shake things up yet again for Kosar. Certainly you can’t support the Browns making a move like that because we are sentimental as fans. In many ways, the fans mixing a player’s legacy with current team business has been harmful as the Jim Brown distraction showed a season ago.
Again, I can’t tell you how to think, but I wish Bernie Kosar well. I don’t begrudge the current Browns for not hiring him. I don’t begrudge Kosar for looking elsewhere as he works through his bankruptcy issues. Bernie Kosar the player will always be a Cleveland Brown just like Ozzie Newsome.
Just as long as Kosar doesn’t decide to announce his next gig on TV with Jim Gray.