Apr/29/14 07:03 AM Filed in: Bernie Kosar
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan/AP) — Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar has pleaded no contest to a lesser charge after blaming knee and ankle surgeries for not performing a field sobriety test during a traffic stop last year.
Kosar had been charged with drunken-driving in September, but on Monday he entered a plea to reckless operation and received a fine and suspended jail sentence.
“I am pleased with the court’s decision that reaffirms that alcohol was not involved in my traffic citation from September in any way,” Kosar said in a statement. “I sincerely apologize to my fellow Clevelanders for the guilty charge of reckless operation, resulting from speeding in a construction zone. In the future, I will strive to be more cautious and careful.”
Police say officers smelled a strong odor of alcohol when Kosar was pulled over in Solon, in suburban Cleveland. Kosar told an officer he couldn’t perform the standard one-leg stand or walk and turn tests as he had undergone several surgeries on his knees and ankles because of his playing days.
“I do not fault law enforcement for making the original charges and mistaking my concussion related ailments for alcohol-induced impairments,” Kosar said. “I understand how slurred speech and physical limitations could be misinterpreted as intoxication.”
A police report said Kosar was driving 74 mph on a 50-mph limit street. According to the report, Kosar had slurred speech and difficulty speaking.
Kosar has publicly talked about how head injuries suffered during his NFL career have affected his speech, making him sometimes slur his words.
Last week the Browns and WKYC-TV 3 announced that Kosar was being removed as a color commentator for preseason games.
Kosar, 50, said he was removed because of slurred speech he attributes to “a direct result of the many concussions I received while playing in the NFL.”
WKYC-TV issued a statement disputing Kosar’s assertions. In announcing the decision, the Browns said they were in discussions with Kosar about “potential new roles” on pregame telecasts and on the team’s website.
Last summer, Kosar drew criticism for in-game comments about former St. Louis third-string quarterback Kellen Clemens, the Rams’ receivers and assistant coach Ray Sherman. The Browns apologized to the Rams and reprimanded Kosar.