Browns’ Best Draftees: Bernie Kosar
Lately, the Browns have been a team that most quarterbacks want to avoid. It has become a place for quarterbacks to ruin their careers and the list of starting quarterbacks is never-ending. We cannot seem to figure out who the right guy is the lead the team. We draft them, sign them in free agency and trade for them. Nothing has seemed to work. However, in 1985, a quarterback actually chose to be drafted by the Cleveland Browns and turned out to be one of the best we’ve ever had.
That man was Bernie Kosar.
Not many NFL players can say that they were able to choose who they wanted to be drafted by. That’s not the case for Bernie Kosar. A quarterback from Youngstown, Ohio, who played for Miami University (Florida) and had a spectacular career there was primed to join the NFL in 1985. At the time, only seniors and graduates were eligible for the NFL draft, but Kosar was scheduled to graduate that summer, even though he had two years of eligibility. He decided that he wanted to enter the draft, hired an agent and even voiced the fact that he wanted to be a Brown.
Going into the draft, the Browns traded their 1985 (seventh pick) and 1986 first-round picks, 1985 third-round pick and 1986 first-round pick for the Bills’ 1986 first-round pick. Since the Bills also owned the 1985 first overall supplemental draft pick, the Browns were able to use that pick instead of the 1986 first round pick. Knowing that they had this pick now, Kosar was late to send in his papers for the draft, making him ineligible for the NFL draft, but eligible for the supplemental draft. This obviously caused a lot of controversy among teams since Kosar was such a big prospect, but in the end, the commissioner left the decision up to Kosar. He decided he wanted to be a Brown and skipped the NFL draft so he could be drafted in the supplemental draft a few months later.
So, believe it or not, a quarterback chose to play for the Browns and the Browns were smart and risky with their decision-making in the draft. Man, did it pay off for the Browns.
In Kosar’s first season, he started off on the bench, but took over the starting role after an injury and was able to lead them to the playoffs with an 8-8 record. He continued to lead the Browns to four more playoffs and even led them to three AFC Championship games. Unfortunately, he could not get past John Elway and the Broncos in all of those games, but it was not because of him. In 1986, Kosar set the record for most passing yards in a playoff game with 489 yards, which was just broken this past Super Bowl by Tom Brady. He also held the record for almost two decades of most consecutive pass completions without an interception with 308 passes between 1990 and 1991. His career was full of comeback wins and included two Pro Bowl selections.
Unfortunately, Kosar’s career was limited by multiple injuries. His last play as a Brown not surprisingly was a touchdown pass that he improvised in the huddle. He finished his career as one of the best Browns quarterbacks of all time with the third-most passing yards with 21,904 yards and fourth-most touchdown passes with 119 as a Brown. This pick is one that we can definitely be proud of and Cleveland thanks you Bernie Kosar.
Tribute video to Bernie Kosar: