In the time it took to make one mistake on the football field, Brandon Bostick lost a chance at a Super Bowl and a job.
But he’s at least found a new friend, someone who empathizes with his plight.
In a first-person account for The MMQB.com, Bostick said he was surprised to get a call out of the blue from a man who understands — Earnest Byner.
Byner’s fumble (and not just any fumble, but The Fumble) cost the Browns the 1987 AFC Championship, so he understands the pressure on Bostick after he cost the Packers a shot at the Super Bowl by misplaying an onsides kick.
“In times of adversity you find out who really has your back,” Bostick said. “One guy in particular has been a big help. His name is Earnest Byner, and you may know him as the running back responsible for The Fumble, which cost the Browns the 1987 AFC title.
“Byner called me out of the blue, and now we talk about once or twice a week. His biggest advice: Face your mistake, don’t run from it.”
Bostick will get that chance in Minnesota now, as the Vikings were quick to claim him off waivers, as they do many Packers cast-offs.
“I’m excited to get out there and seize the opportunity, but I know 2015 won’t be easy,” he wrote. “I will still be haunted by that onside kick, and I will still be remembered as the guy who blew a trip to the Super Bowl. That’s just the way it is.
“Even though I will think about it every day, I hope one day I will be remembered for something else. I do know this: If I ever get another chance to play in a conference championship game, no matter what uniform I’m wearing, I will take a moment to apologize to my teammates on the 2014 Packers. I sincerely wish I didn’t jump up for that ball. I wish we were celebrating a Super Bowl right now.”
Byner probably has similar thoughts about the Browns, and has probably told Bostick that the infamy won’t fade anytime soon.