CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar believes he was unjustly booted from the booth.
Wednesday night the Browns and WKYC TV 3 announced that Kosar would be replaced by veteran CBS Sports analyst Solomon Wilcots during preseason telecasts in August.
In a statement released on his behalf Thursday morning, Kosar claimed that the decision was a result of his “slurred speech impairment, which is a direct result of the many concussions I received while playing in the NFL.”
Kosar’s assertion was denied by WKYC president and general manager Brooke Spectorsky in a lengthy statement Thursday afternoon.
“First of all, we love Bernie, and we’re grateful for the role he has played in our broadcasts over the last 8 years.” Spectorsky said. “Nowhere in our discussions with Bernie or the Browns has anything ever been said about his speech impairment due to concussions. That has simply nothing to do with our decision.”
Spectorsky clarified that the decision to replace Kosar in the booth with Wilcots was made strictly in an effort to refresh and enhance the production of the broadcasts.
“We have essentially done the same preseason programming for the past 8 years,” Spectorsky said. “It’s about the production of the games and our wish, after careful discussion with the Browns, about changing up the production to give a new perspective in our coverage.”
Kosar, a Boardman, Ohio native who played for the Browns from 1985-1992, remains one of the most beloved sports figures in Cleveland after leading the Browns to 3 AFC Championship games. He retired from the NFL in 1996.
“I believe my football acumen and ability to describe what is happening on the field, has been well received by Cleveland Browns fans,” Kosar said. “I love to put the personal touch, pride in the Browns, and pride in our Cleveland community into the broadcast. Being able to share these preseason games with my fellow Cleveland Browns fans is truly one of the remaining joys in my life.
“I would hope that WKYC would reconsider utilizing my in-game talents and overlook my concussion-induced impairment. I want everyone to know that I still bleed Brown and Orange.”
Browns president Alec Scheiner said Wednesday that a specific broadcast role for Kosar is still being worked out and could include preseason pregame duties, team website multimedia contributions as well as work on the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio network.
Whether or not Kosar accepts the new role is up to him.
“The Browns and I met personally with Bernie and talked to him about all of that,” Spectorsky said. “It’s in Bernie’s hands and he knows exactly what we’re talking about. There’s lots of room for discussion for his roles in the upcoming season and we hope he’ll decide to remain an integral part of the new programming efforts across multiple platforms.”
Last August Kosar drew criticism from St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher after Kosar made an off color joke about Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens and then proceeded to criticize St. Louis receivers as well as their position coach.
Kosar was reprimanded and the Browns publicly apologized to the Rams organization.
Last Sept. 29 Kosar was arrested on DUI charges in Solon, Ohio. The police report said that Kosar handed the officer 2 credit cards when asked to show his drivers license and he made a joke about knee and ankle surgeries being the result of his offensive line’s inability to block for him as the reason why he couldn’t take a field sobriety test.
Wilcots played 6 seasons in the NFL and began his broadcast career in 1994. In addition to working for CBS as an NFL game day analyst, Wilcots also works for NFL Network and NFL Radio on Sirius/XM in a similar capacity.
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