Q & A With Brian Brennan

With the Browns receiving corps coming together in 2002, it is easily to reflect back on the late 80s, when the Browns had a solid group of WRs which helped lead the club to three AFC championship games. Bernies Insiders Magazine spoke to a key element of that group, #86, Brian Brennan.

Present Occupation: I am a Managing Director of Institutional Fixed Income Securities at McDonald & Company. I sell debt securities to large financial institutionsand banks in London, New York, Boston and Washington D.C.

Family: My wife, Bethany and I have three kids. Courtney is 15, attends Gilmour Academy and is a soccer player. Brian is 12 and also attends Gilmour Academy. He plays hockey, baseball and football, but seems to like football the best. Grace is 9, attends Gesu Catholic School and is a basketball and soccer player.

Residence: We live in the Cleveland area.

Q: How did you get booked up with the post game television show you host?

A: I auditioned for the color analyst role for the Browns games on radio when they came back to town in '99. It didn't work out, but I was subsequently asked by Channel 19 to be on the "5th Quarter Show" with Ronnie Duncan during the inaugural season. Jeff Phelps and I are still doing it now. I also work for WTAM on the Browns pre-game show. I co-host the show with Kevin Keane.

This is definitely a hobby for me. I have no aspirations of making TV or radio a full time gig. It has been a nice way to stay connected to the Browns and the fans.

Q: What is your favorite Browns memory?

A: I would have to say it occurred at Lakeland College during training camp. I don't remember exactly what year it was. After one of the practices, Bernie Kosar, Reggie Langhorne, Webster Slaughter, Clay Mathews and I were getting treatment. We were all icing down in vats of ice, singing Eagles and Rolling Stones tunes. It certainty wasn't deserving of any musical acclaim, but it sure was a sight to see.

As far as favorite play is concerned, it was catching the go-ahead touchdown pass in the 4th quarter against Denver in the 1987 AFC Championship Game. Unfortunately, we lost the game, but it was the most exciting few minutes I ever experienced on a football field.

Q: What do you miss most about the game?

A: The camaraderie. We were dose as a team. Offense, defense, it didn't matter. We were all friends and hung out together. I would love to recapture that feeling of friendship we shared during those years.

Q: How is the game different than when you played?

A: The game is more physical. The best guys are bigger, stronger and faster than they were a decade ago. However, I think top-to-bottom, the league is not as strong as it was. I think each team has a few guys who really stand out, but after that I see a dilution of talented players. Maybe it is because there are too many teams, but the bottom players on the roster just don't have it.

The quarterback position is another area where I see problems. With the exception of Brett Favre, Kurt Warner and one or two others, the talent level doesn't compare to the '80's when there were so many great QB's. Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, John Elway, Phil Simms, Boomer Esiason, Warren Moon, Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Joe Montana, Bernie, the list goes on. Most of these guys could come back even now and do a better job than the current QB's in the NFL.

Q: How does the current team compare to the old teams of the 80's?

A: Defensively, I see a lot of similarities. The current team is fast, from the defensive line to the secondary. If you dressed the current team up in the old uniforms and numbers of our teams from the 80's, it would be easy to mistake them for the old team. The defensive lines in particular remind me of each other. Michael Dean Perry was always in the opposing team's backfield. Gerard Warren is the same way. Imagine those two playing next to each other.

Offensively, it is completely different. We could score on every play from anywhere on the field, and often did. We had it all; QB, running backs, receivers, tight end, offensive line. We had a great nucleus of talent. Obviously, the current team has a long way to go. They have problems in every area.

Q: What is the current team missing?

A: I don't see too many weaknesses on the defensive side of the ball as long as they stay healthy. Offensively, they have needs across the board, especially with the running game. Our offensive line deficiencies are well documented and accurate in my opinion. I would start there and also look to add a powerful runner.

Q: Who is the best player you ever played with?

A: Other than me (just kidding!), Earnest Byner. Hands down, EB was the toughest guy I ever saw play the game of football. Junior Seau was second.

Q: What wide receiver on the Browns team today reminds you the most of you when you played?

A: Kevin Johnson. He has great hands and knows how to get open, and most importantly he is consistent. I have heard some people say he doesn't have the break away speed to be a great receiver, but they said the same thing about me. He has good football instincts. I will take that over blazing speed any day.

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