Former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar called St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher today to apologize for the comments he made during the telecast of Thursday night’s preseason opener, a team spokesman said. And Browns CEO Joe Banner released a statement tonight in an effort to quash the controversy.
“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 the statement. “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.”
Kosar is still scheduled to serve as an analyst for WKYC (Ch. 3) Thursday when the Browns host the Detroit Lions in their second preseason game. He has not replied to a text message from the Beacon Journal seeking comment.
Either way, Kosar will likely be more careful about his commentary this week after Fisher verbally blasted him during a news conference Saturday.
Fisher was responding to the critical comments Kosar made during WKYC's telecast of the Browns’ 27-19 win over the Rams. Kosar ripped third-string quarterback Kellen Clemens, the Rams’ wide receivers and the team’s receivers coach.
“First off let me say this, the Cleveland Brown organization is a first-class organization from top to bottom and it has been that for years and years and years,” Fisher said Saturday. “I guess I’m a little disappointed – I feel bad for them – 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.
“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 play-by-play announcer Jim Donovan told Kosar a story about Clemens signing an autograph for the pope, Kosar said, “Bless me father for I have sinned. I have to watch him the whole fourth quarter.”
Clemens told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his family met the pope, but he didn't actually sign an autograph for him. He also addressed Kosar's harsh opinions.
"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 said. "Unfortunately, he also gave us a couple of examples in his commentating career of what not to do."
Kosar also called the Rams’ receivers “horrible.” Donovan then asked Kosar, “What if some of their parents are watching?” Kosar replied by saying, “I would be embarrassed.”
Kosar also took a shot at Rams receivers coach Ray Sherman.
“You know, 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.”
When asked how Clemens played against the Browns, Fisher defended his player.
“Again, 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."
Kosar also received backlash from Sports Illustrated's Peter King, who wrote the following on Twitter: "My question for Kosar after comments in Cle-StL preseason game: Were you drinking? Good guy. But waaay over the top here."
Now the Browns and Kosar are hoping their apologies are accepted and they can move on.