Click here for an updated version of this story: WKYC executive says TV station will stick with decision to remove former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar as preseason color commentator
Former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar believes the team and WKYC ousted him Wednesday as the color commentator for their preseason game broadcasts because of his slurred speech that he attributes to concussions he suffered as a player.
Kosar made the assertion in a statement released this morning and expressed hope that WKYC would reconsider the decision to remove him from the broadcast booth.
Solomon Wilcots will replace Kosar as an analyst during preseason games, and Jim Donovan will remain the play-by-play man, the Browns and WKYC announced Wednesday. The Browns also said they’re discussing potential new roles with Kosar that could include appearances on their website, radio shows and the pregame telecasts for preseason games.
Here is Kosar’s statement: “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. 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 became enveloped in a controversy last year after he ripped former St. Louis Rams backup quarterback Kellen Clemens, the team's receivers and receivers coach Ray Sherman during a preseason game. Rams coach Jeff Fisher responded by saying he lost respect for Kosar. Former Browns CEO Joe Banner then released a statement explaining that the organization reprimanded Kosar for "the personal and unprofessional approach that Bernie took with some of his comments during the broadcast." Kosar defended his strong opinions during the next preseason telecast without publicly apologizing.