Dan LeBatard has a great feature on Bernie Kosar for the Miami Herald. While locally, all we got recently in terms of media coverage of Bernie's imminent bankruptcy filings were the financial details, LeBatard sits down with Bernie in Florida and recaps just how completely screwed up Kosar's life is these days — personally, socially, and physically.
If you listened to No. 19 call pre-season Browns games or make appearances on WKNR, you surely know that Bernie's voice is not one of a healthy man. You can hear the pain, the toll of alcohol, the stress of his messy divorce, all wrapped up in that endearing slur that Browns fans love.
What we know about his money is that he owes lots of it, to lots of people — somewhere between $10 and $50 million in total. From mismanaging his funds to being entirely too generous with friends and relatives, to taking a beating on real estate deals thanks to the miserable economy, Kosar is in a world of financial hurt.
That we know.
LeBatard's piece gives a ton of insight into the man we only know as a beloved public figure. For instance, he didn't know how to make coffee until recently.
And there's more. These are perhaps the best two anecdotes from the whole piece:
The IRS and the creditors and an angry ex-wife and an avalanche of attorneys are circling the chaos that used to be Bernie Kosar's glamorous life, but that's not the source of his anxiety at the moment. He is doing a labored lap inside his Weston mansion, the one on the lake near the equestrian playpen for horses, because he wants to be sure there are no teenage boys hiding, attempting to get too close to his three daughters. He shattered a Kid Rock-autographed guitar the other day while chasing one teenager out of his house because he doesn't mind all of the other boys within the area code thinking the Kosar girls have an unhinged Dad.
''There are a million doors in this place,'' he says. ``Too many ways to get in.''
Do you know how to wash clothes, Bernie?
''No,'' he says.
Iron a shirt?
''No,'' he says.
Start the dishwasher?
''No,'' he says.
He just learned the other day, after much trying and failing, how to make his own coffee. This is a man who owned his own jet and helped found companies, plural. But when his new girlfriend came over recently and found him trying to cook with his daughters, she couldn't believe what was on the kitchen island to cut the French bread. A saw.
So, those are amusing, and it's always interesting to see how someone who a success at quarterback not because of his physical skills, but because of his cerebral acuity, doesn't know how to hang pictures on the wall or perform the most mundane of domestic tasks.
But the image of Bernie that emerges by the end isn't silly or unhinged or pathetic. It's one that any Clevelander could have guessed. He's self-deprecating, kind, a loving father, smart enough to know he'll come out of this, and too in love with the competition he long left on the field to get too far away from the game he loves. He carries his scars (broken fingers, broken ankles, screwed up back, countless concussions) proudly, and despite everything going against him, knows he'll survive. And he deals with all the usual issues of being a former superstar athlete now trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life, still seeking that adrenaline and competition along the way.
He's not a perfect guy, by any stretch of the imagination. But we can identify with him. Guys and gals that fight their way through, making mistakes, trying to do better next time, but not always succeeding. That's why the love for Bernie is so palpable. It's not just about what he did on the field. He's one of us. Always will be.
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