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Bernie Kosar Speaker Profile

Retired Quarterback for the Cleveland Browns

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Bernie Kosar Biography

Quarterback, Bernie Kosar, was born on November 25, 1963 in Youngstown, Ohio. Kosar played quarterback for the Cleveland Browns from 1985 to 1993 and then finished his career with the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins.

Perhaps no player in Browns history is more loved than Bernie Kosar. A native of northeast Ohio, Bernie publically announced his desire to play for his team, the Cleveland Browns. Kosar signed with the Browns on July 2, 1985, becoming the youngest QB in team history. His rights were obtained from Buffalo for 2 No 1 picks (85, 86), a 3rd (85), and 6th (86). Bernaie Kosar is second in most career passing marks behind Brian Sipe. His unceremonious release during the 1993 season raised national furor. Signed by Dallas, Kosar was a key element in the Cowboys superbowl winning season by replacing an injured Troy Aikman. Bernie Kosar spent 94 and 95 seasons with the Dolphins as a backup to Dan Marino.

Kosar's choice of the Browns, who were coming off a 511 season, made him an immediate fan favorite. His friendliness with fans and on-field performance would make him one of the most popular players in team history.

Kosar was not the most athletic man to play quarterback. He was famously immobile and threw with an unwieldy half-sidearm motion. However, his accuracy was unmatched, and he rarely forced throws or made bad decisions. In 1990 and 1991, Kosar set a league record by throwing 308 consecutive passes without an interception.

The Browns intended Kosar to serve as Gary Danielson's backup in Kosar's rookie season, but Danielson injured his shoulder in the fifth week. Kosar completed only half of his passes in the team's rushing-oriented offense that year. Nevertheless, the team snuck into the playoffs with an 8-8 record, losing to the Miami Dolphins in the divisional playoffs.

Danielson was injured again in the 1986 preseason, and by the time he healed, Kosar had established himself not only as the Browns' permanent starter but as one of the league's top QBs. In a new, passing-focused offense, Kosar threw for 3,854 yards and finished second in the league with 310 completions. The Browns took top seed in the American Football Conference with a 124 record. In the divisional playoffs against the New York Jets, Kosar threw for a playoff-record 489 yards in leading the Browns to a dramatic 2320 comeback victory in double overtime. Only John Elway's famous 98-yard drive in the following week's AFC championship kept the Browns out of the Super Bowl.

1987 was Kosar's finest year, statistically. In the strike-shortened season, he completed 62 percent of his passes for 3,033 yards and 22 touchdowns and led the AFC in quarterback rating. In an AFC championship rematch against Elway's Denver Broncos, Kosar threw for 356 yards and three touchdowns in a 3833 loss. Kosar also made his only Pro Bowl that season.

Kosar spent most of the 1988 season sidelined with injuries but came back to throw for 3,533 yards in 1989. That year, the Browns advanced to the AFC championship for the third time in four years, losing again to the Broncos in Denver.

Kosar's later years in Cleveland were dampened by injuries and dwindling support around him. In 1990, Kosar threw a career-high 15 interceptions as the Browns went 313. The following year, he came back to throw for 3,487 yards and 18 touchdowns. A broken ankle sidelined him for most of the year in 1992.

His career in Cleveland would now come to an end, but only after earning a place in the hearts and minds of the fans (and having the 1986 novelty song Bernie, Bernie, to the tune of Louie Louie), recorded in his honor).

He was such a big star in the Cleveland area that on Draft day 2007, ESPN showed a picture of Browns draft pick Brady Quinn from Dublin, Ohio and Notre Dame, at age 3 wearing a child-sized Bernie Kosar jersey

In 1991, the Browns hired Bill Belichick as head coach. Not a big fan of Kosar, Belichick had signed quarterback Vinny Testaverde (Kosar's former college teammate) before the 1993 season. Early in the year, Belichick benched Kosar in favor of Testaverde. An injury to Testaverde later put Kosar back under center.

However, after a 2914 loss to Denver in week 8, the Browns released Kosar. Belichick told a press conference Kosar was suffering from diminishing skills. The coach was not entirely incorrect; Kosar's performance had trailed off in recent years. But the release of the popular player set off a wave of anger among Browns fans, some of whom came to the next home game in Kosar masks.

The Dallas Cowboys then signed Kosar to a 1 year, $1 million contract to fill in for an injured Troy Aikman. Kosar performed well in four games for the Cowboys and earned his only championship ring as a backup in Super Bowl XXVIII. A week prior to the Super Bowl, Kosar relieved an injured Aikman in the second half of the NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers, completing five of nine pass attempts for 83 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He played one down in the Super Bowl: ending the game by taking a knee on the last play.

Kosar spent the final three years of his career with the Miami Dolphins as a backup to Dan Marino. He is perhaps best remembered among Dolphins fans for designing a trick play that helped the Dolphins top the Jets in a crucial game late in 1994. With the clock winding down and the Dolphins down by 3, Marino pretended to spike the ball to stop the clock. He then threw the winning touchdown pass to Mark Ingram.

Kosar finished his 12-season career with 1,994 completions in 3,365 attempts for 23,301 yards and 124 touchdowns, with 87 interceptions. He also rushed for 265 yards and 5 touchdowns. He also holds an NFL record for most completed passes without an interception.

Since retiring from football after the 1996 season, Kosar has been involved in several ventures. In 2001, he became part-owner of the Florida Panthers franchise of the National Hockey League. In 2004, he opened Bernie's Steakhouse in South Miami, Florida. He was also publisher of Bernie's Insiders, a magazine that covered the Browns; his role ended when it became the Orange and Brown Report at the end of 2005. The Bernie J. Kosar Jr. Charitable Trust, established in 1991, funds programs for children and young adults. Kosar has turned down feelers to run for public office.

Kosar is recently divorced from his wife of 17 years, Babette. The couple have four children.

As part of a renewed hands-on involvement with his long-time team, Kosar joined the Cleveland Browns pre-season television broadcast team as a color commentator in 2006. He returned as color commentator for the 2007 pre-season.

There had been talk of Kosar taking the head coaching job at his alma mater, the University of Miami, and Kosar (who currently holds a seat on Miami's board of regents) acknowledged that he had considered taking the job before it was ultimately offered to Randy Shannon.

On May 21, 2007, it was announced that Kosar would open a Bernie's Steakhouse in Cleveland's Flats East Bank Neighborhood, a $230 million mixed-use project.

Kosar also purchased a minority share in the Arena Football League's Las Vegas Gladiators in 2007 and announced that the team would move to Cleveland and play under the name Cleveland Gladiators.  On October 16, 2007, Kosar was named team president and CEO of the franchise clevelandafl.com The Gladiators finished the 2008 regular season 9-7, earning them a playoff berth.


Bernie Kosar Booking and Hiring Information

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