CLEVELAND (AP) — Former Cleveland quarterback Bernie Kosar made a costly bet.
The Browns fired the beloved Kosar from their pregame radio broadcast before the season finale against Pittsburgh after he violated NFL policy by placing a wager earlier this week after sports gambling became legal in Ohio.
Kosar had made a ceremonial bet of $19,000 — he wore No. 19 during his career in Cleveland — on the Browns to beat the rival Steelers with the Tipico Sportsbook app.
The Browns say they had no other choice but to relieve him of his duties.
“We understand what Bernie means to this community and our history,” the team said in a statement Sunday night, released after the Browns lost 28-14 to finish 7-10. "But as team contracted personnel hired to provide content on our media platforms his bet was a violation of NFL rules and we must adhere to all NFL policy.”
Kosar will also no longer be a regular guest on the team's in-house radio program.
Earlier, the 59-year-old Kosar had expressed disappointment with the decision with a posting on Twitter.
“Steelers GameDay yet once again I was informed by the Browns that my services are no longer desired or needed.” Kosar wrote. “I am shocked & disappointed. Brown & Orange is my life … Go #Browns.”
Kosar remains one of the franchise's most popular players. An Ohio Native, he left the University of Miami early so he could be picked first by the Browns in the 1985 NFL Supplemental Draft.
Kosar spent nine years with Cleveland, leading the Browns to three AFC Championship Game appearances. He was cut by then-coach Bill Belichick in 1993 and went on to win a Super Bowl as a backup with Dallas.
He has remained active in the community and worked with the Browns in various capacities since his retirement in 1996. Kosar passed for 23,301 yards and threw 124 touchdown passes from 1985-96.
The Browns lost 28-14 on Sunday.
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Tom Withers, The Associated Press