Cleveland quarterback Bernie Kosar made it clear this week he thinks the Browns' 1989 trade of running back Earnest Byner to the Washington Redskins was a bad one.
Byner was traded after his fumble in the 1987 AFC championship game kept the Browns from getting to the Super Bowl, and after another bad playoff outing a year later. He became the Redskins' featured back last year, and is playing a prominent role in their 6-0 start this year.
Ironically, the Browns haven't had a 100-yard runner since a 1988 game at Washington when Kevin Mack gained 116 behind Byner's blocking. They've gone 43 games since then without anyone hitting the century mark.
Do the Browns miss Byner?
"No question," Kosar said. "Me and Earnest were close when he was here . . . He's one of the premier players in the league. I think he enjoys being in that type of offense. He's so versatile and intelligent. He's impressive to be around."
Cleveland management felt it was best for Byner to move on after his playoff gaffes. But, Kosar said "that wasn't the feeling amongst the players. He's an outstanding player, well respected and very well liked."
The Browns get a chance to see what they've missed Sunday when they play the Redskins at RFK Stadium. The trade turned out to be tremendously one-sided. The Browns got receiver/kick returner Mike Oliphant in the deal, and he has contributed one touchdown in two years. He is currently on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.
Byner ranks seventh on both the Browns' and the Redskins' all-time rushing lists with 2,713 and 2,325 yards, respectively.