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Bernie Kosar: Concussions cost me a broadcasting job

Bernie Kosar, Rick Sponaugle AP

Former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar says concussions suffered during his NFL career have caused him to develop a speech problem, which in turn led to his dismissal as the color commentator for Browns preseason games.

“I was informed yesterday by the Cleveland Browns and WKYC that I have been replaced as a 2014 preseason game day color commentator,” Kosar said in a statement, via Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I believe that this decision stems from my slurred speech impairment, which is a direct result of the many concussions I received while playing in the NFL.”

Kosar’s slurred speech was noticeable when he was hired for the job, however, which raises the question of why he would get fired for it now if the Browns and WKYC didn’t have any problem with his speech at the time they hired him. It seems much more likely that Kosar’s unprofessional comments during a preseason game last year, and the DUI Kosar got a month later, caused the Browns and WKYC to conclude that he’s not someone they want representing them.

But Kosar believes he’s the right person for the job.

“I would hope that WKYC would reconsider utilizing my in-game talents and overlook my concussion-induced impairment,” Kosar said.

That’s probably not going to happen. But Kosar’s comments will, if nothing else, cause the lawyers for the Browns and the NFL to take notice: At a time when concussion litigation is a major concern in pro football, this is a prominent former player claiming that concussions are costing him the opportunity to make a living now that his playing days are over.

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53 Responses to “Bernie Kosar: Concussions cost me a broadcasting job”
  1. jimb031 says: Apr 24, 2014 11:23 AM

    Facepalm

  2. xpensivewinos says: Apr 24, 2014 11:24 AM

    If being completely delusional and lacking all objectivity are side effects of concussions, then yup……Bernie’s right!

  3. wawa33 says: Apr 24, 2014 11:24 AM

    It wasn’t the drinking and slurred speech, Bernie?

  4. dalfanforever says: Apr 24, 2014 11:24 AM

    Oh yeah…that whole DUI thing….

  5. 87hollywoodhorn says: Apr 24, 2014 11:26 AM

    I honestly like kosar hes one of the last browns to get anything done on the field and he gets so much hate

  6. fin72 says: Apr 24, 2014 11:28 AM

    Kevin Costner thought Bernie’s announcing last preseason for the Browns was an embarrassment!

  7. codenamez says: Apr 24, 2014 11:29 AM

    Bernie was the single best part of Browns pre-season games. Ok the only good part. Between actually giving good commentary AND messing up every single players name? Gold. I got to hear about Brett Radcliffe (Ratliff) for 3 years, and enjoyed every minute of it.

  8. realnflmaster says: Apr 24, 2014 11:31 AM

    Lawsuit incoming?

  9. h3min1230 says: Apr 24, 2014 11:32 AM

    Good.

  10. jredshoes says: Apr 24, 2014 11:32 AM

    So he’s broke, drives drunk and is now unemployed. Some people can take life hanging opportunities like being an NFL quarterback and still crash and burn

  11. drfeelyouup says: Apr 24, 2014 11:33 AM

    BRING BACK BERNIE!!!

  12. tylerisntthere says: Apr 24, 2014 11:34 AM

    Is Concussions a new brand of whiskey?

  13. dumbpollack says: Apr 24, 2014 11:36 AM

    He’s got great “takes” on those broadcasts. Another stupid move by Jimmy.

  14. gadgetdawg says: Apr 24, 2014 11:44 AM

    I do not know if the drinking or DUI had anything to do with it but I still have no problem with his ‘unprofessional conduct’.

    He was color commentary for a home preseason game if memory serves. His job was to make a boring preseason game entertaining for the home crowd and he succeeded. Browns fans really enjoyed it and I fail to see why the Browns would or should care what Rams fans thought one way or the other.

  15. narlo00 says: Apr 24, 2014 11:46 AM

    I’m sick of hearing about players, both now and former, complaining about concussions. They know the potential effects of playing football. I don’t know the statistics, but I’d be willing to bet the number of players who’ve had concussions is a lot higher then the players who have not.

  16. howiefeltersnatch says: Apr 24, 2014 11:47 AM

    I now have zero reason to watch Browns preseason games.

  17. devindenv says: Apr 24, 2014 11:52 AM

    So, Bernie, you don’t think your drinking had anything to do with your “slurred speech” problem?

  18. tictoccpthook says: Apr 24, 2014 11:54 AM

    Concussions impair thinking, and so may be an underlying cause of all of the above.

  19. 4512dawg4512 says: Apr 24, 2014 11:56 AM

    If its that comment that he made about the Rams then thats ridiculous cause he was spot on with it. The truth hurts. I enjoyed hearing Kosar calling the games I hope they reconsider

  20. watchfullhose says: Apr 24, 2014 11:58 AM

    This is terrible. Bernie was an AWESOME color guy…better analysis that just about anyone.

  21. rr2000k says: Apr 24, 2014 11:59 AM

    This is comedy gold…..

  22. chaznewc says: Apr 24, 2014 12:10 PM

    Bernie has had his jaw broken and countless concussions. His slurred speech is NOT from drinking or drugs. Yes, he did get a DUI, but some of you may have as well. Give the guy a break.

    I always love hearing his analysis of the plays of the games. He tells it like it is and breaks them down so you understand exactly what just happened and why.

    More power to ya Bernie.

  23. contract says: Apr 24, 2014 12:16 PM

    Bernie also wanted to be Head Coach of the Miami Hurricanes. He’s obviously not doing well. It’s sad watching someone as bright as he was coming apart like this.

  24. kwjsb says: Apr 24, 2014 12:17 PM

    It’s a shame, for what ever reason, he carried the passion of being a Browns fan, the honesty you seldom see on TV and an ability to break down a play like a college professor breaking down a problem so anyone could understand the complexities.

  25. jpiro says: Apr 24, 2014 12:18 PM

    This is 100% setting up a wrongful termination suit or a disability claim from the NFL.

    Ridiculous.

  26. kitnamania13 says: Apr 24, 2014 12:20 PM

    Big mistake by the Browns. The Kellen Clemens comments were the best thing about the 2013 preseason.

  27. macbull says: Apr 24, 2014 12:59 PM

    To my knowledge, the fans were not complaining about Kosar…with the exception of maybe 1%.

    Kosar’s comment about the Rams passing game did not set well with Jeff Fisher, even if Kosar was factually correct that the Rams passing game was not so good.

    Kosar apologized for the comment but obviously that was not enough for Jeff Fisher, who wanted Kosar’s scalp.

    WKYC knuckled under, firing Kosar, and folks wonder what is wrong in Cleveland…this is a great example…the flagship station of the Browns won’t even stand up for one their greats, Bernie Kosar.

    Browns fans appreciated Kosar’s honest and blunt opinions…shame on WKYC.

  28. clwb419 says: Apr 24, 2014 1:09 PM

    Why people adore Bernie so much is beyond me. He was a very average quarterback…career under 50% winning, under 60% completion, average at best QB rating, but a nice TD:INT ratio.

    This is exactly what is wrong with Browns fans…celebrate mediocrity and not greatness.

  29. thefiesty1 says: Apr 24, 2014 1:10 PM

    Why would the Browns even bother with preseason games? Oh yea, they have a chance of actually winning a couple of those. Unlike the regular season.

  30. thelastpieceofcheese says: Apr 24, 2014 1:21 PM

    The concussions drove him to drinking.

  31. cincyalldaway says: Apr 24, 2014 1:24 PM

    It was likely the unprofessional comments made during that preseason game. I have heard on more than one occassion, from a person with good authority and knowledge of the situation, that Bernie did in fact offended the 20 fans in attendance that day as well as all three watching from home. The Browns can’t afford that kind of negative publicity. Of course they fired him!

  32. Matt dog from C-town says: Apr 24, 2014 1:24 PM

    I know i speak for most Browns fans on this:

    I enjoyed him being the commentator…everbody was interested to see what he had to say….Bernie is to Cleveland what Joe Namath is to New York… you take the good with the bad, but you still love him for who he is and the memories of some good times here in Cleveland!!!! I like most of the moves this year, but not this one….

  33. urbusted2 says: Apr 24, 2014 1:29 PM

    Bernie should be coaching QBs. He’s extremely smart and actually explains too much for the average fan during the preseason games. He has his problems, but he was one of the most cerebral QBs in the league and he still has the knowledge. Instead of judging him, I’d rather root for him.

  34. seanpbeck says: Apr 24, 2014 1:37 PM

    How many more examples do the Browns’ “marketing” guys have to give us that they don’t understand their market? The ridiculous “It’s 3rd DOOOWWWWWWN!” and Michael Myers Halloween music when the D is on the field, the complete devaluing of the PSLs for their loyal, paying customers of 15 years in a shameless cash-grab and now eliminating the only thing that made their sorry preseason games watchable. BK’s comments weren’t “unprofessional.” They were mis-represented by Peter King in his national column (I doubt he even WATCHED the broadcast) and Jeff Fisher took a public cheap shot at Bernie in an interview (after telling reporters to ask him about it). The dude’s football IQ is off the charts and he actually makes preseason games fun for a change. This reeks of Goodell. Keep sweeping the concussion thing under the rug Roger, it’ll just go away.

    In case you didn’t notice, none of Bernie’s qualified teammates who are still local, like Hanford Dixon, Bob Golic and Brian Brennan, took the job. They had to go out and get Solomon Wilcots because BK’s teammates refused to replace him. It’s called loyalty, Browns 2.0. Look into it.

    It’s infuriating that Ozzie is in Baltimore and Clay Matthews’ son is in Green Bay because this new imposter version of the Cleveland Browns (despite constant regime and even ownership change) thinks they’re smarter than everyone else despite chronically illustrating that they aren’t. It’s infuriating that outside of Jim Brown’s token ambassador role, Kevin Mack is the only true member of the Browns family on the payroll for, I guess, the purpose of having a familiar name answer the phone when a random alum or Hall of Famer calls and asks for tickets.

    It’s infuriating that outsiders and carpetbaggers repeatedly insult the intelligence of their paying customers and repeat the same mistakes over and over and over again. The only silver lining is that the people who fired Bernie will probably be out of a job in a year or two, because that’s how it works here.

  35. godofwine330 says: Apr 24, 2014 1:43 PM

    Bernie may be a good guy and often called plays before they happened in the preseason telecasts, but the slurred, almost unintelligible speech was an issue. Some would say that he was drunk, but those who knew knew better. In the end, Tony Rizzo (Cleveland sports raio personality) darn near dedicated the entire show to whine about this which lead me to mute ’til 1PM. In the end, Solomon is a much clearer color commentary voice who IMO is an underrated guy that we are extremely lucky to have.

  36. glb15 says: Apr 24, 2014 1:46 PM

    I believe station WKYC will soon be swimming a sea of piranha like lawyers.

  37. belairirish says: Apr 24, 2014 1:47 PM

    Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.

  38. bullcharger says: Apr 24, 2014 1:57 PM

    He wouldn’t have ever had a job as a Broadcaster if he didn’t hang in the pocket and take those hits. His celebrity got him the job.

  39. sdsmooth says: Apr 24, 2014 1:59 PM

    Being let go of your broadcasting job because of slurred speech?

    How did Lou Holtz slip through the cracks?

  40. kosarkid says: Apr 24, 2014 2:09 PM

    Well preseason games just got a lot more boring. He was the only entertaining part about them.

  41. thebiffer says: Apr 24, 2014 2:38 PM

    The only thing he has left is signing autographs. He surely can’t act, his appearance on The Drew Carey Show proved that

  42. mayfieldroadboy says: Apr 24, 2014 2:39 PM

    Git ‘em, Bernie! Git ‘em quick before Haslam loses the Flying J and the high Flying Browns, and WKYC seeks bankruptcy protection.

  43. maddog111 says: Apr 24, 2014 2:49 PM

    The guy was entertaining, and he really does know his stuff. I listen to a sports talk radio station out of Cleveland, and he’s usually on once, twice a week during football season, but if the concussions are what’s causing the slurred speech, it’s odd because the slurring comes and goes. You hear him one day, he sounds fine, the next, you’d swear he’s hammered.

    Saw someone else mention Tony Rizzo, the local sports talk guy who always defends Bernie. He vouched for the guy that he had quit drinking, completely, right up to the time when he got popped for the DUI. I’m not saying he doesn’t have some concussion related issues, very likely he does, but I think it’s naive to think that alcohol isn’t playing a part in this as well.

  44. supertecmobowl says: Apr 24, 2014 2:55 PM

    Honestly, he can’t be any worse than some of the other former players out there butchering the English language on every pre-game show.

  45. timmons94 says: Apr 24, 2014 2:55 PM

    Your lucky bernie.u no longer have to watch that team that has lost 11 or more 6 years in a row

  46. audient says: Apr 24, 2014 3:10 PM

    Bernie Kosar sacked once more. The thing that bothered me about his comments during the Rams preseason game last year wasn’t that he was so harsh about certain Rams players, but his fourth quarter comments to the effect of “bless me father for I have sinned, but I have to watch the rest of this game.” Well, no, Bernie, turns out you won’t have to do that any more.

    The last bright shining time in Cleveland football were those seasons in the late 80s when he was QB. There are Browns fans who think that Bernie can do anything, and that the Browns should be putting him into any number of various positions, for surely he would be successful (like those three AFC championship games, yes?) But no, he wouldn’t be, and no, if the Browns actually did, there would be all kinds of outcry when he inevitably would be fired, just like now.

    Can’t we just have fond memories of number 19 and those dawg days gone by without hoisting the man up to fail and acting all butthurt when he does, as if it were Belichick and Modell cutting him once more for “diminishing skills?” The poor guy has medical problems, and maybe an alcohol problem. He is one more example of what the hits in football do to your brain. Let’s stop pretending that he could be a front office guy or a coach. Let’s stop acting like it is a personal affront to all Browns fans whenever the Browns don’t allow Bernie to do color commentary or whatever else.

  47. clebrowntown says: Apr 24, 2014 3:23 PM

    Being glued to those broadcasts during the last few preseasons left me feeling two opposing emotions…I totally enjoyed Bernie’s comments…watching and hearing his worsening condition was horrible…he became the focus…he was a distraction during the game and it was extremely difficult to listen to him without screaming why the hell are those idiots NOT calling 911 to have him taken to the Clinic? It had become the Bernie Show.
    I’m still rooting for Bernie and truly hope he lives a happy life receiving all the love the Cleveland community has for him…me included.

    Go ahead…let ‘er rip

  48. dexterismyhero says: Apr 24, 2014 3:35 PM

    Maybe he can do a movie “Weekend at Bernie’s III”.

  49. schmitty2 says: Apr 24, 2014 3:41 PM

    For all you siding with with Kosar’s comments about Kellen Clemens, I will agree generally speaking Clemens isnt that good but he was just as good as any qb the Browns rolled out last year.

  50. mrfrostyj says: Apr 24, 2014 4:02 PM

    He isn’t exactly wrong. The issue to me is more on the fact that the NFL Network now shows pre-season games nationally and it just so happened that the ill fated Rams game was shown from the Browns commentators perspective nationally. I personally believe the Browns felt embarrassed about the broadcast and who the rest of the world (or at least those who care enough to watch pre-season games) saw and heard as THEIR color guy.

    Keep in mind his replacement is Solomon Wilcox who is one of CBS’s color analysts for the regular season. From an outsiders perspective it makes pre-season games look a bit more professional when you actually know the guys calling the games.

    With all that being said Kosar is a Cleveland guy and the whole point of teams having their own commentary teams for pre-season games is to give a local perspective to an otherwise purposeless game to watch. Quite frankly Kosar’s honest fan like opinion of games was extremely entertaining and I’m pretty sure the ratings for the replay of that Browns/Rams game on NFL Network was probably a lot higher than your average pre-season game just because people outside of Cleveland wanted to hear what exactly Kosar was said. The Browns shouldn’t be surprised if they’ve lost many local fans just to make people outside of their city happy.

  51. oldcracker says: Apr 24, 2014 5:22 PM

    I really liked Bernie’s football knowledge and insight, calling play after play before they happened. Too bad he never became a coach. However, with that said, he speech during each game became worse and worse, as the game progressed. There was definitely something wrong there but, I don’t know enough about Bernie to cast any stones.

    I really hope Bernie can write a football column or maybe even a “Football for Dummies” type book for beginning coaches. I hope he can land on his feet and happily live out the rest of his life.

    As for Fisher whinning about someone pointing out a hole in his team (which are few), too fricking bad. “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

  52. bensstinkyfingers says: Apr 24, 2014 8:56 PM

    Bernie is a good dude, and has more insight and football knowledge than 99% of all commentators currently employed. Problem is his slurred speech whether it be brought on from concussions, drinking, or combo of both, coupled with him ‘calling it like it is” instead of being a P.C. “company guy’ is what cost him his job. Bernie was the single most entertaining part of the preseason broadcasts, and Bernie will always be a hero to real browns fans. too bad management all too often overlooks the wants of fans to make the politically correct “vanilla” business decisions. hang in their Bernie, hope you find a new gig that you enjoy and can be appreciated!

  53. wyrdawg says: Apr 25, 2014 4:25 AM

    While I have the utmost respect for former players and the situations they’re going through ( of which this slanders)…

    .. Bernie: You lost the job being “Bernie”. You lost a LOT being “Bernie”.

    IF you can make a statement like this, you KNOW right from wrong, my man.

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