Despite being one of the most popular players in the history of the Cleveland Browns organization, former quarterback Bernie Kosar, 50, has been removed from his position as a preseason color commentator, and he believes concussions are the culprit.
According to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, the WKYC television station has decided to replace Kosar with Solomon Wilcots, though it has offered Kosar other roles at the same pay, including one on pregame telecasts.
Kosar feels as though slurred speech brought on by concussions suffered during his time in the NFL played a role:
I was informed yesterday by the Cleveland Browns and WKYC that I have been replaced as a 2014 preseason game day color commentator. I believe that this decision stems from my slurred speech impairment, which is a direct result of the many concussions I received while playing in the NFL. This is very unfortunate, as I believe my football acumen and ability to describe what is happening on the field, has been well received by Cleveland Browns fans.
Despite Kosar's suspicions, WKYC president and general manager Brooke Spectorsky claims the decision to reassign Kosar is simply being made in an effort to change things up on the telecast:
Our decision is strictly based on that we want to freshen up our pregame production, and as the Browns are rebuilding, we wanted to rebuild the approach that we take to covering the games. We felt that after seven years, it was time for a change, and it's not like we slammed the door on Bernie. We've offered him other programming opportunities, including the pregame show and radio and web and no change in compensation or anything like that.
There has been some backlash from Browns fans who support the former Pro Bowl signal-caller, but every indication is that WKYC will stick to its guns, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com:
This is clearly a major blow to Kosar, who made it abundantly clear how much he enjoys color commentary:
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.
Kosar now has a decision of his own to make regarding whether he wants to remain with WKYC in a different capacity.
He still has an opportunity to contribute and share his knowledge with Browns fans, albeit in different ways.
That is certainly a tough pill for Kosar to swallow, though, and there are many who feel the same way, like Bud Shaw of The Plain Dealer:
Kosar played in the NFL for 12 seasons with three different teams, with the first eight-plus years in Cleveland. He threw for 23,301 yards and 124 touchdowns, along with 87 interceptions.
Despite the public support Kosar has received, WKYC is essentially past the point of no return.
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