Belichick, Kosar move past their split


Before he got his hands on Tom Brady in New England, the quarterback with whom Bill Belichick was most associated with was Bernie Kosar. And that relationship wasn’t exactly as poetic the one the Patriots coach and his two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback here share.

But it’s also not a bad one for Belichick now.

Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Terry Pluto did a story this week on Kosar coming together and making amends with Art Modell — the man who uprooted the Browns and moved them to Baltimore (and fired Belichick in the process) — and, as it often does, the subject eventually turned to the quarterback’s ouster in Cleveland.

It’s hard to explain properly the pedestal Kosar, who hails from Youngstown and found a way to force his way to the Browns in 1984 through the supplemental draft, was placed on in Northeast Ohio. Having gone to school in that state, I can tell you “delusional” might not be too strong. The guy was good quarterback, but people there believe he belongs with the Montanas and Marinos and Elways among the great quarterbacks of the ’80s. And that’s why Belichick was vilified for releasing him (while Vinny Testaverde was injured, no less) in 1993.

“I got whacked by Bill, but stuff does happen,” Kosar told Pluto. “You can’t change history. You can’t be negative or bitter about it. I didn’t want to carry that around when it came to Bill. When reporters asked me about how Bill would do in New England, they figured I’d slam him. But I said what I really believed. Bill is fantastic when it comes to organization and discipline. His strength is defense. He really knows his X’s and O’s. He could learn offense, and he’d learn from what happened in Cleveland.”

And if the brass of the new Browns had listened to Kosar, Belichick might have gotten a second shot in Cleveland in 1999.

The story that Kosar put Belichick up for that job has floated around for some time. Here’s how it happened, from the horse’s mouth …

“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. “They about laughed me out
of the office. They thought I was crazy. I thought Bill would be perfect
for a team on a tight timeline because of his incredible organizational
skills. We needed a special coach for an expansion team.”


Turns out, Kosar was on to something.

As for the good feelings between the two, it looks like all that’s mutual now. Pluto sought out Belichick for comment on this story, and got a warm email in response.

It read: “I have always had a lot of respect for Bernie — his football intelligence and passion for football. I appreciate the support he has shown me through the years. I have always admired his preparation and commitment to the Browns — before, during and after Bill Belichick. I have enjoyed my communications with Bernie through the years.”

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