Kosar Intent on AFL Success

The ex-Browns quarterback is focused on making his new Arena League team a winner in Cleveland. The OBR's Lane Adkins spoke to Bernie recently and brings us up-to-date with what's going on with Number 19.

Bringing an Arena Football team to Cleveland is perhaps not what you would have originally expected from Bernie Kosar when it comes to football and his hometown, but it's real. The ownership group led by Jim Ferraro and Kosar appear to be determined to make the Cleveland franchise the next big thing in this city.

"The game is exciting; it is not like the NFL game. The field is shorter, the scoring is unbelievable and the atmosphere at an Arena game is exciting," Kosar said.

Bringing Cleveland a high-scoring off-season variation on our favorite sport could be a winner for the Kosar-led organization and fans alike.An AFL season consists of a 16-game regular season schedule, and games average nearly 100 points per contest.

The new owners will have a few challenges to make things work in Cleveland. The first is to field a competitive club. The new Cleveland team is being relocated from Las Vegas, where the Gladiators were 2-14. Ferraro blames a lack of focus and an absentee owner for a portion of the woes last season.

With Kosar onboard and the relocation to Cleveland, the ownership group is optimistic a turnaround will occur with renewed focused and new management personnel in the fold.

"There is a reason the season in the AFL runs from March to July. We play in-between the NFL schedule. The AFL also works with the NFL on many aspects of the game," Kosar said. "We are going to be active in getting players in here that will help us win. We're talking free agents, former NFL players, college players, and we are going to do what it takes."

Kosar, the president and CEO of the new Cleveland team, is undertaking his greatest responsibility outside of family since retiring from the NFL. In heading the AFL team, Kosar brings a market where fans are as rabid as any in professional sports to a league which will be beginning its 22nd season.

"When everything came about and with Bernie's involvement, we wanted to come home and play in Cleveland. There is no better place to play football and the fans are the best anywhere," owner Jim Ferraro said. "I've known Bernie a long time, going back to when I thought I was going to represent him coming out of college (Miami). Bernie knows football, he knows how the game works and he is very good with people. There is nobody better to lead us than Bernie Kosar."

While Kosar has not been directly involved with a professional football team, he has been a close associate of Cleveland Browns team owner Randy Lerner, as well as involved with the football team and school at the University of Miami, Florida.

"What I have learned is you surround yourself with great people, people who share the passion as much as you. If you can achieve this, you are going to be successful," Kosar said. "We are doing that with this team, this organization."

"I'm not doing this just to show up at eight football games at The Q," Kosar said. "I'm doing this to make us proud, not to fill my ego."

Over the last severel years, there has been much discussion surrounding Kosar and his unofficial role with the Cleveland Browns. Kosar has attended practice sessions and been involved with offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and the quarterbacks on the roster. Kosar has no title with the Browns, but his input has been welcomed for some time.

As with the late Al Lerner, Kosar is close to team owner Randy Lerner. Kosar has shared thoughts and evaluations about the team with Lerner, along with general manager Phil Savage.

"I love the Browns and have a great relationship with Randy Lerner. He wants the Browns to be as successful as anybody. I come up and talk with Randy, Phil and Rob Chudzinski," Kosar said. "Rob Chudzinski is doing a great job, he is imaginative, he attacks a defense and he really is using a lot of the old U of M (University of Miami) attitude on the offensive side of the ball."

Following changes in his personal life, Kosar is expected to spend the majority of his time (approximately nine-months of the year) in the Cleveland area in the near future, a switch from the South Florida life-style Kosar had following his playing days.

"My life has been pretty complicated to say the least. Getting the team (AFL) here and other things I want to do, I will be here much more," Kosar said.

And, is there an eventual official role with the Browns in the plans?

"Randy (Lerner) and I have talked many times. He would like me to take on a greater role. For right now, I am doing what I am doing with organization, getting the AFL team started and going from there," Kosar said. "I am going to be around."

Something tells me we are going to hear much more about Bernie Kosar, the new AFL team and the Browns as he becomes more settled in the Cleveland area, once again.

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