Nine years later, Byner finds he can't lose 'The Fumble'

November 30, 1997|By Ken Rosenthal

It should have been remembered as one of the best games of his career. But all anyone remembers is what happened at the end.

Earnest Byner gained 187 total yards and scored two touchdowns in the 1988 AFC championship game.

Yet, The Fumble still haunts him.

"That's still one of the things I'm trying to free myself totally from," Byner said. "I'm sure I never will be totally free."

The Cleveland Browns, trailing 38-31, were driving to tie the score when the Denver Broncos recovered Byner's fumble on their 3-yard line with 1: 12 left.

"If you look at it from a practical point of view, it was only one play," Byner said. "But it was a big, big play, as far as the way it was put out there.

"Even last year, during the playoffs, they showed it on NBC. They must have had it queued up. That ticked me off.

"I was like, 'What does that have to do with me?' Nothing! I guess it's one of those things that is going to be used perpetually. It amazes me."

Byner doesn't need the reminder. Nearly a decade later, the memory is still painful.

"I'm in the hunt for perfection. Every little mistake hurts me.

"Looking at it that from perspective, I don't know if I'll ever get over it," Byner said.

Pub Date: 11/30/97

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