Back in the 80’s, the Cleveland Browns were great. Not the stumbling, losing, wait-til-next-year team of late, but truly a fantastic team. Bernie Kosar, Earnest Byner and Kevin Mack are three of the all time greats from that era.
We had an opportunity to meet Kosar, Byner and Mack yesterday at a local grocery store meet-and-greet event. The three were gracious; smiling and talking the entire time to their fans. We waited in line a little longer than we anticipated, but it was fine because they were taking the time to actually talk to people. Kosar even joked with Don about his pink phone case (mine) as I took their picture.
Our wait in line was a fun time, as we chatted with fellow Browns fans. The man behind us graduated with Bernie Kosar, and played football with him their freshman year of high school. Talk about a small world, Don’s dad graduated with Kosar’s mom from Chaney High School in ’59.
Kosar’s first year as the Browns Quarterback came after a losing 5-11 year. The Browns fans were ready for a winning team! That year they made the playoffs with an 8-8 record. The next year he lead the Browns to a 12-4 record and eventually lost to John Elway and “The Drive” in the playoffs. In 1987, he again lead the Browns to the playoffs and eventually another rematch with Denver, which they lost 38-33.
Kevin Mack was nicknamed Mack Truck. He was the Browns first round pick, 11th overall in 1984. In his rookie season he ran for 1104 yards and 7 touchdowns. In 1985, Mack and Earnest Byner both ran for over 1000 yards. That was only the third time that teammates had run for that many yards in the same season.
Earnest Byner was a two-time Pro Bowler and a two-time Super Bowl Champion (although not with the Browns). Byner is the author of the book “Everyone Fumbles” referencing his fumble in the 1987 game AFC Championship game against Denver that he felt cost Cleveland the win. To purchase a copy of Byner’s book, visit the website http://earnestbyner21.com/store/everybody-fumbles-autographed-book-copy/.
Events like these mean a lot to the fans. These men did this on their own time, gave away free autographed pictures, signed all the memorabilia and photos that each person wanted, and took hundreds of photos. We will never forget meeting them and appreciate everything they have done for Cleveland and the fanbase.