Browns Release Kosar; Philcox To Start Against Seahawks

BEREA, Ohio - The Cleveland Browns cut Bernie Kosar today, ending a short and stormy relationship between the longtime starting quarterback and Coach Bill Belichick.

Kosar, who agreed to a non-guaranteed, seven-year, $26 million extension of his contract earlier in the year, had been benched by Belichick in favor of backup Vinny Testaverde, who was signed as a free agent during the summer.

When Testaverde suffered a separated shoulder last month, Kosar returned to the starting lineup, but Belichick still wasn't happy with him, saying it was apparent that Kosar's physical skills had diminished over the years.

"We've all seen him play," the coach said. "I'm not going to bad-mouth and bash Bernie. We'll sign another quarterback. Todd (Philcox) will start against Seattle. He's the quarterback.

Kosar completed 79 of 138 passes for 807 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions this year.

He started the Browns' first five games, but was relieved by Testaverde in the second half of three of those. Testaverde then became the starter for two games before separating his shoulder on Oct. 24 against Pittsburgh.

Kosar came back as the Browns' starter yesterday in a 29-14 loss to Denver. He completed 16 of 30 passes, including a pair of touchdown throws to Michael Jackson.

"It was unanimous (among the coaching staff) that we should go in a different direction," said Art Modell, team owner. said. "It was a painful experience for Bernie and myself. . . . Bernie Kosar has been like a son to me."