Had a Great Time at Dinner with A Class Person Miles pic.twitter.com/FSszZXGCus— Bernie Kosar (@BernieKosarQB) May 23, 2014
Miles Austin is new to Cleveland, but he has quickly formed a bond with legendary Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar.
Bracing for the NFL to possibly suspend All-Pro wide receiver Josh Gordon for a reported failed drug test, the Browns signed Austin and Earl Bennett last week to provide veteran reinforcements in their receiving corps.
Upon his arrival, Austin, a member of the Dallas Cowboys for the past eight seasons, wanted to wear jersey No. 19 like he had before. So out of respect for Kosar, who donned No. 19 when he helped the Browns reach back-to-back AFC Championship games during the 1986 and 1987 seasons, Austin contacted the former Pro Bowl quarterback this past weekend to ask for his blessing. The only Browns player to wear No. 19 since Kosar was cut in 1993 was wide receiver Frisman Jackson in 2004.
Kosar gave his approval and later met with Austin for dinner Thursday night.
“Had a Great Time at Dinner with A Class Person Miles,” Kosar tweeted along with a photograph of he and Austin sitting together at a table in a restaurant. A piece of cake can be seen in front of Kosar and Austin, and "#19" is written on the plate in chocolate.
Austin wasn’t obligated to reach out to anyone for permission to wear No. 19, but he has certainly endeared himself to Kosar and Browns fans by doing so.
“I know how much the number means to him and the city of Cleveland, and I also know how much the number means to me,” Austin, whose one-year deal with the Browns is reportedly worth $2 million, including $300,000 guaranteed, said Wednesday after the second practice of organized team activities. “I never want to step on anyone’s toes coming anywhere. So I thought it was the right thing to do to reach out to him and basically tell him how much I think of him and also let him know how much pride I take in the game as well.
“I told him I looked up to him and I’d do everything I could to make him proud if he allowed me to wear it. And if he didn’t allow me to wear it, I would have to find another number. I don’t know which one it would be, but thankfully he was more than happy. He said, ‘Yeah, no problem.’”
Austin wore No. 14 as a rookie with the Cowboys in 2006 and planned to keep the number the following season until the organization acquired veteran quarterback Brad Johnson. Having worn No. 14 throughout his long career, Johnson was even willing to pay Austin to let him have the number when he joined the Cowboys.
“I was like, ‘You don’t got to pay me a thing, man. Go ahead. You take it.’ And that’s when I took 19. I had that for seven years,” Austin said. “Thankfully, Bernie was kind enough to show me the same courtesy I gave Brad. It was nice, really nice of him. He’s a classy guy, and I’m just glad he gave me the opportunity to wear it.”