On a day the Raiders decided to change quarterbacks, the Cleveland Browns, who come to the Coliseum Sunday, were forced to.
The Browns announced that Bernie Kosar, their starter since 1985, will be sidelined for at least six weeks because of a hairline fracture of his right ankle, an injury he fought while leading Cleveland on a second-half comeback Monday night at home against the Miami Dolphins.
Kosar, expected to be sidelined at least through October, was hit hard several times during the first half of the 27-23 loss to the Dolphins. But he was not sure exactly when the injury occurred and said he thought it was a sprained ankle.
Kosar completed 19 of 28 passes for 230 yards, including 11 of 15 for 172 yards during the second half. The Browns trailed, 20-3, early in the fourth quarter before he threw touchdown passes of six yards to Michael Jackson and three yards to Mark Bavaro. Cleveland had a 23-20 lead before the Dolphins came back to win on a one-yard run by Mark Higgs with seven seconds left.
Club owner Art Modell called Kosar's play "the most extraordinary display of courage I've ever seen in football."
He added: "When you think of the way he moved, the way he exposed himself to further injury and the way he played in the fourth quarter . . . you can have nothing but respect for this special young man."
Coach Bill Belichick said he thought Kosar was outstanding, even before he knew the severity of the injury.
"When you put the way he played and the way he took charge in the context of the injury, it shows you what a special performance it was," Belichick said. "He is one hell of a competitor and obviously this is a big blow to this team."
It had already been a rough season for Kosar. He was sacked 11 times--one short of the NFL record--in the opening-game loss to the Indianapolis Colts and then was sacked twice during the first half by the Dolphins.
The Browns' backup quarterback is Todd Philcox, who threw 49 passes during exhibition play, with two interceptions and two touchdowns. The third-year player from Syracuse didn't play in either of the first two games of the regular season and had only four brief appearances last season.
The Browns said they were negotiating for another quarterback and expected to make an acquisition by today.
Kosar joins several other starting quarterbacks on the sidelines: San Diego's John Friesz, Indianapolis' Jeff George, Phoenix's Timm Rosenbach and the New York Jets' Browning Nagle.