Cleveland Browns

Earnest Byner Says He Still Has To Own “The Fumble”


LeBron James made sure to mention how Sunday’s NBA title-clinching win over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday took the likes of Earnest Byner and Jose Mesa off the hook for potentially costing the city of Cleveland eventual championships.

However, one guy who isn’t exactly ready to erase past Cleveland transgressions is former Browns running back Ernest Byner.

Of course, it was Byner, who had a critical fumble during the 1987 AFC Title game deep in Broncos territory with the Denver Broncos leading the Browns by a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

Denver recovered Byner’s gaffe and won the game 38-33 to earn a trip to Super Bowl XXII.

Recently, Byner was asked about that play in regards to ESPN’s Believeland documentary that aired. Clearly, he hasn’t quite gotten over what happened.

“I’m still on the hook but it makes managing the situation a little bit easier. To tell you the truth, the Believeland show really provided a lot of healing for me and a lot of the fans that came and I’m sure watched on TV.

But the ones that were in the question and answering session after we watched the Believeland show, that started the process in my estimation of me really getting to the point where I feel free, when the subconscious nature of carrying that weight started to be, now it’s getting broken up and being relieved so that started that process. What availed me was the ability to watch the game and cheer for the Cavaliers.

Part of the mentality of Cleveland is a never-die mentality, and that comes from the base that they have a sports family and generationally be fans of the Cavs, the Indians and the Browns. … The mentality that Cleveland has and then being able to celebrate as opposed to saying, ‘Let’s wait until next year,’ that’s pure joy. When you’re talking about joy and you’re talking about the honest — just really feeling plain out happy about something — that’s the kind of joy that I think is in Cleveland at this point.”

Good for Byner that he owned up to what happened and is fighting through the situation’s reality.

The crazy part of this play and how crushing it was for the Browns is that Byner went on to play an integral role for the 1991 Washington Redskins – one of the greatest single-season Super Bowl champions of all-time.

However, “The Fumble” is the most famous play of his career. Even though he claimed a Super Bowl ring a few years later, the weight of The Fumble still weighs on his mind.

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