TOM WITHERS,AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns have told former quarterback Bernie Kosar to watch his words.
On Sunday, team CEO Joe Banner condemned Kosar for harsh on-air comments he made about the St. Louis Rams during Thursday night’s TV broadcast of their exhibition opener against Cleveland.
Kosar, working as an analyst, was brutal in his assessment of third-string quarterback Kellen Clemens, the Rams’ receivers and receivers coach Ray Sherman.
Banner said Kosar’s conduct was unacceptable.
“We don’t condone the personal and unprofessional approach that Bernie took with some of his comments during the broadcast Thursday night,” Banner said in a statement released by the team. “We’ve spoken to Bernie, he understands that, and we would expect the situation is resolved moving forward. We’ve also reached out to the Rams organization and have shared those same sentiments.”
The Browns said Kosar called Rams coach Jeff Fisher personally and apologized Sunday. The Browns also said Kosar will continue to work the preseason games along with play-by-play announcer Jim Donovan.
Kosar, who is scheduled to work this Thursday’s telecast of the Browns’ home game against Detroit, did not immediately return messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Fisher first noted the Browns were “a first-class organization” on Saturday before saying he had lost a lot of respect for Kosar, and was disappointed he would target Clemens.
“I feel bad for them (the Browns) that they had someone doing the broadcast feel the need to speak that way about players, specifically on our team and coaches for that matter,” he said. “I’m just surprised that Bernie has such a lack of respect for players and this game. To be honest with you, I lost a lot of respect for him. It’s highly unlikely he knew anything about our football team, but felt the need to make those comments. I don’t think they were justified.”
“I’m just surprised that Bernie has such a lack of respect for players and for this game. So, to be honest with you, I lost a lot of respect for him. This game is a preseason game. Players are playing hard. It’s highly unlikely that he knew anything about our football team but felt the need to make those comments. I don’t think they were justified.”
After Donovan relayed a story during the telecast that Clemens had recently met the Pope, Kosar said, “Bless me father for I have sinned. I have to watch him the whole fourth quarter.”
Later, Kosar called the Rams’ receivers “horrible” and said of Sherman, “I’m checking through the itinerary here of guys, of coaches to see who the receiver coach is, to make sure I don’t know this guy is,” Kosar said. “Because he’s not doing very good, either.”
Clemens didn’t take the chance to fire back at Kosar when the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asked for a comment.
“He gave us a lot of great examples throughout his career of what it’s like to play quarterback, and how to do it at a high level,” Clemens told the paper. “Unfortunately, he also gave us a couple of examples in his commentating career of what not to do.”
This isn’t the first time Kosar, one of the most popular players in Cleveland history, has come under scrutiny for his on-air behavior. He has publicly talked about how head injuries sustained during his NFL career have affected his speech, making him sometimes slur his words. He has also been addicted to pain medications, gone through a divorce and had financial troubles.
Fisher referred to some of Kosar’s problems while defensing Clemens.
“Bernie’s got his issues, they’re well documented,” Fisher said. “Kellen played well. He played hard and made plays. He got guys deep and had a drop. He played well.”
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