Editor’s note: This story appeared in the July 2, 1985 edition of The Vindicator and is one of the most talked about stories during the career of the late Chuck Perazich, the newspaper’s sports editor from 1977-92. Perazich died in 1995 in Las Vegas.
By CHUCK PERAZICH
Vindicator Sports Editor
At approximately 3 p.m. today in Cleveland, Bernie Kosar Jr. officially becomes a member of the Cleveland Browns.
That’s the word from Dr. John Geletka, Kosar’s adviser and chief negotiator.
Since last Thursday, Geletka, Atty. Dan Thomas and Bernie Kosar Sr. have been meeting with Browns’ officials regarding a multi-year contract for the former quarterback from the University of Miami, Florida and Boardman High School.
Last night in Cleveland, the Geletka camp huddle with Browns’ owner Art Modell, his top aide Ernie Accorsi and Jim Bailey, Browns’ chief legal counsel.
After dinner, a long hard weekend of negotiations came to an end.
Both sides were in accord as to the total package of the contract, including the monetary value.
The Cleveland Browns have called a press conference for 3 o’clock today, at which time they’ll announce the agreement.
First on the agenda, however, is a completion of the National Football League’s supplemental draft called the “Kosar Draft” in some quarters.
This takes place at 1 p.m. in New York City. Kosar will be the first player picked by the Browns. This came about in a trade with the Buffalo Bills.
Yesterday, to make sure there was “no foulup,” Modell had his staff notify the NFL headquarters in New York by telex that Kosar was their No. 1 choice.
There is no in-person draft and no telephone conference call. The teams just send telexes to the league. The Browns have done this and one spokesman said, “it doesn’t hurt to be sure.”
A league rule prevents an official signing of a player selected in a supplemental draft until one-half hour after the conclusion of the draft.
“I’m glad it’s over. I’m glad he is a member of the Cleveland Browns and has achieved the dream of his life,” said Geletka, an Austintown dentist and family friend who has directed the Kosar bid to become a professional football player.
“Our No. 1 priority was to get Bernie a contract so he can join the team when camp begins July 18.”
Sharing Geletka’s interest was Modell, who had indicated when contract talks began that he desired a completion of negotiations by July 4.
Geletka felt all along that he could arrive at a deal and receive what the Kosars were seeking and see Bernie report to the Browns’ training camp on time.
Although he wouldn’t reveal the dollar value of Kosar’s contract, Geletka has been quoted in the past as stating he was hopeful of getting a contract similar to the one signed by John Elway, the Denver Broncos’ brilliant quarterback from Stanford.
According to the National Football League Players’ Association, Elway signed with the Broncos for a $5 million package over five years.
Geletka and the Kosars may have agreed to this figure, and a little bit more.
When he puts his name on the Browns’ contract, he will become the highest paid player on the club’s roster, if not the top paid in the history of the franchise.
At the moment, linebacker Tom Cousineau tops the team with $660,000 per year. After the tentative agreement was reached last night, Modell walked away pleased.
Geletka and his negotiation team also departed quite happy.
After being introduced to the Cleveland media this afternoon as a member of the Browns, Bernie is expected to work out with the Browns’ quarterback coach Greg Landry and offensive coordinator Joe Pendry.
“Bernie is very anxious to get started. He has this intense desire to succeed. He wants to win,” concluded Geletka.
Kosar has said from the very beginning that he wanted to play in Cleveland, “near his hometown and his family.”
The entire family has been Browns’ fans. They will join Bernie today in Cleveland for the signing.