Since the Browns debuted their underwhelming sequel in 1999, Bernie Kosar has been the team’s most conspicuous extra.
He’s never been given even a supporting role in the organization, but despite his lack of any official football-governing capacity, he’s been active and involved. He frequently appears on local radio and TV stations from the start of training camp through the end of the season, offering his analysis and opinions. You can find him at the stadium on many a Sunday, chatting with players, coaches and executives, obliging media requests – doing anything to stay close to the game he lived and still loves.
The fans reciprocate Kosar’s devotion to the Browns and football. Despite never leading the Browns to the Super Bowl, despite the fact that his career prime lasted all of two years – he was never the same after his elbow was injured in the 1988 season opener – despite the fact that he is quite possibly the fourth-most-accomplished quarterback in Browns history behind Otto Graham, Frank Ryan and Brian Sipe, the fans have elevated Kosar to folk-hero status.
Part of it is his local ties, having grown up a Browns fan in Boardman, Ohio, just outside Youngstown. Part of it is the fact that he declared for the 1985 supplemental draft specifically so the Browns could select him. And part of it is grasping at the strands of what little we have had to cherish about the Browns over the past quarter-century.