Browns fans lamenting their team’s all-time worst 1-15 record have their sights set on the NFL draft. Cleveland’s No. 1 draft pick is raising hopes that the team will finally get a star quarterback. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says fans are already eyeing their next hometown hero.
Waiting for the next Bernie
Pluto says Browns fans are haunted by the last good quarterback they had here: Bernie Kosar, who was from Youngstown.
Kosar was the No. 1 selection in the 1985 Supplemental Draft and was able to maneuver a way to pick the Browns.
“What fans loved about Bernie is he chose us. The Youngstown guy came home and took over a team that was struggling in the late ‘80’s. And while they didn’t go to the Super Bowl, they were good. Then you have The Drive and The Fumble, but he is revered.”
Years of being the Browns quarterback took its toll on Kosar’s body, and he was cut by then-coach Bill Belichick in 1993. Since then, there’s been a parade of quarterbacks, at least 24 since the team returned to the league in 1999.
“But hanging over the franchise is Bernie. Can we find another Bernie to make football relevant again?”
Fans eye Mentor native Trubinsky
Some people think they found the next Bernie in Mitch Trubisky, who declared for the NFL draft this week.
“He was the Ohio High School Player of Year at Mentor High and not heavily recruited. He ended up at the University of North Carolina. The odd thing is he ended up sitting for three years before playing this season, making 13 college starts.
"I had a colleague in the [Plain Dealer] newsroom and we were talking about Trubisky. And I don’t know how good he really is; it’s hard to judge.
"He goes, ‘What if he’s Bernie! What if he’s Bernie and we miss him! We don’t take him and he goes somewhere else and he’s Bernie!’
"There is not a single draft expert out there rationally rating this draft rating Trubisky as No. 1 player. Most of them have him in the first round.”
But, Browns fans have a history of getting excited about local quarterbacks – Brian Hoyer from Cleveland St. Ignatius, University of Akron’s Charlie Frye and the Brady Quinn from the Columbus area.
“Some did better than others, but in the end they all ended with torn ligaments and broken bones. That is kind of the history of Browns quarterbacks.
And, following Clemson’s win over Alabama in the national championship game, fans are suddenly clamoring for Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson.
“Even though he’s from Georgia, that’s good enough!”
Plus says he’s getting lots of emails ahead of the April draft.
“They are almost beside themselves at the thought of getting the wrong quarterback, or trading down and not taking any quarterback. Somebody said, ‘No matter what they do, I know they’ll get it wrong.’
"And yet, you know what? Everyone’s going to be watching all the conferences and the NFL combines ahead of the NFL draft.”