He says dealing with the pain, especially the emotional pain, has made him a better person. I kept smelling salts in my pouch [around his waist] when I was out there, because I'd get hit and feel dizzy." He paused. The initial hit wasn't the worst, it was when your head banged down on that turf. "I've gotten to know some of Bernie's friends from the Browns," Longaberger said. I appreciate the support he has shown me through the years. He owned the Denver franchise in the old Arena League, and we talk a lot about Arena League players. But I felt the worst for Earnest [Byner, who fumbled]. I have always admired his preparation and commitment to the Browns -- before, during and after Bill Belichick. I struggle sometimes to say exactly what I want when I'm tired like that. But we don't talk about those [playoff] games." Kosar did receive a Super Bowl ring as a backup with Dallas in the 1993 season, "but my goal was to win a Super Bowl for Cleveland. It's home." So what was worse, The Drive or The Fumble? About a year ago, Bernie Kosar quietly made a call to Baltimore."I needed to see Art," the former Cleveland Browns quarterback said. He is totally honest, a guy you can trust." Mangini attended some of the Gladiators' Arena League games, as Kosar is a consultant for that team. "We still talk on the phone, and we'll see how it works this season." Kosar said he's open to whatever role the new front office would have for him.
"I got whacked by Bill, but stuff does happen," Kosar said. When reporters asked me about how Bill would do in New England, they figured I'd slam him. Bill is fantastic when it comes to organization and discipline. "People won't believe this, but when we were talking about coaches for the Browns in 1999, I mentioned hiring Bill to [owner Al] Lerner and [team President] Carmen Policy," Kosar said. We needed a special coach for an expansion team." Kosar had to know the public backlash to bringing Belichick back to Cleveland -- remember, he had yet to revive his career at New England -- meant it was impractical. He runs faster than me." Kosar loves to play catch with his son, both pretending they are quarterbacks. "If one of us makes a bad throw or drops a pass -- usually, it's me -- then we later play a game called Gastineau. "I still talk to [former Denver Broncos quarterback] John Elway," he said.
But the fact that he would mention it says two things about Kosar: 1) He is a very creative thinker and risk taker when it comes to football. Asked to discuss Kosar, Belichick responded with this e-mail: "I have always had a lot of respect for Bernie -- his football intelligence and passion for football. "We never talk about The Drive or The Fumble [which led to losses by the Browns in the AFC Championship Games during the 19 seasons]. We talk about guys we played, games we saw -- even some individual plays in games. I admire how he handled all that." There are nights when Kosar feels as if he's still the Browns' quarterback.
"We hadn't talked since I was cut [by the Browns in 1993]," Kosar said. Kosar also forgot he was an honor student with a finance degree from the University of Miami. "Anyone who had a lot of Florida real estate and says they didn't get killed [financially] in the last few years is lying." Kosar is starting over. He is now represented by Neil Cornrich, one of the National Football League's most respected agents. He gave a short speech about the company's product line aimed at pro and college football fans. "He misses the locker room environment that no one really understands but the players. They proved it in the last four games of the year." Kosar remains a consultant for the Browns. He simply said he was available to the coaches, and it wasn't long before Mangini began to incorporate the former quarterback into some film sessions with the coaches.
"I heard that Art was in a wheelchair and not doing well. "When I was playing, I never thought it would end," he said. He allowed some people to handle his money, and he simply didn't pay attention to where it went. He's dating Tami Longaberger, the CEO of The Longaberger Co. It's nationally known for its handmade, quality baskets and enthusiastic, Avon-like sales force. Kosar is working through his bankruptcy issues and working with Longaberger on selling products with NFL licensing. Yes, he was there to shake hands and sign autographs, but he was more like a blocking back and a safety-valve receiver with Tami quarterbacking the business. He still appreciates the loyalty and love he receives from the guys he played with." Kosar's last game with the Browns was 11 games into the 1993 season. That's why I loved sitting down late at night in Berea with [Browns offensive coordinator] Brian Daboll and [coach] Eric Mangini, looking at film. When former General Manager George Kokinis left the team in the middle of last season, owner Randy Lerner asked Kosar to be around the team -- to be available to Mangini.
Belichick believed Vinny Testaverde was ready to be the Browns starter. "Because it was something I should do," Kosar said. "Bill and I made up not long after he got the New England [Patriots coaching] job," Kosar said. Bill then called me to thank me, and we've been friends ever since. Now, it's what Kosar calls it when his son tackles him. He tells me what is going to happen with a play as soon as the teams are on the line of scrimmage .
But Testaverde was out with a shoulder separation when Belichick made the poorly timed, incredibly unpopular decision. "I was interviewed about it, and I told the writers that I thought Bill would make a good coach. I have never been one to carry grudges for long." For real? I didn't want to carry that around when it came to Bill. He could learn offense, and he'd learn from what happened in Cleveland." But there's more. I thought Bill would be perfect for a team on a tight timeline because of his incredible organizational skills. Kosar doesn't dwell on the past, but he thinks about it. I may be watching film of certain blitzes or defenses, then I go to sleep -- and suddenly I'm in a game, facing that defense.