BEDFORD, Ohio - A judge dismissed a drunken driving charge against former Browns star quarterback Bernie Kosar in court today.
Kosar was arrested in September last year in Solon and refused a breathalyzer. He was charged with drunken driving and speeding, but maintains that his slurred speech - a result of concussions he sustained during his career - led the officer to believe that he had been drinking the night of the arrest.
Today he pleaded not guilty to the OVI charge and was found guilty of reckless operation. He was ordered to pay $1,069 in fines and court costs and handed a 10-day suspended jail sentence, which means he won't serve time unless he is convicted again.
Kosar released a statement soon after his hearing.
I am pleased with the court’s decision that reaffirms that alcohol was not involved in my traffic citation from September in any way. 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. I do not fault law enforcement for making the original charges and mistaking my concussion related ailments for alcohol-induced impairments. I understand how slurred speech and physical limitations could be misinterpreted as intoxication. For the last 6 months, I have been advised by my legal counsel not to comment on this subject due to legal proceedings. However, it was disappointing that the report of the original charges were made national by ESPN within hours of the traffic stop. I would hope that those responsible for quickly leaking this sensitive and personally damaging information before all the facts were known would re-think their actions in the future.
He was let go by WKYC and the Browns last week. The trouble started last August after Kosar made comments about St. Louis Rams players and coaches.
In a news release Thursday, Kosar put the blame for his firing on his slurred speech, which he says came as the direct result of the “many concussions” he had during his NFL playing career.
He described some of the lingering physical effects in a press conference January 2013 .
At the time, the Youngstown native said, "There's still hope.”
The hope he’s holding out now is to return to local television, saying, “I would hope that WKYC would reconsider utilizing my in-game talents and overlook my concussion-induced impairment. I want everyone to know that I still bleed Brown and Orange.”