In the interview for the documentary, Byner, a former running back for the Browns, talks about the play in the AFC Championship Game that has come to be known in Cleveland as "The Fumble.
I accept that responsibility. The difficult acceptance of what happened seems all the more remarkable some 28 years after the play. Byner went on to win a Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins. He returned to Cleveland and played for the Browns in and ' After retiring from football, he became a motivational speaker talking to people about how to deal with difficult situations.
He eventually came to realize his life and career were not summed up by one play, and he wrote a book.
The title: "Everybody Fumbles. It is part of the ESPN "30 for 30" series, and it goes over all the excruciating moments in recent Cleveland sports history, from the Indians blowing a ninth-inning lead to lose in Game 7 of the World Series to the Browns losing consecutive AFC Championship Games and seasons to Michael Jordan 's last-second shot in the playoffs that beat one of the best teams in Cavs history.
The movie lets ex-Indians manager Mike Hargrove and ex-Cavs forward Craig Ehlo speak, but it also talks about what makes Cleveland so dedicated to its sports teams despite difficult losses.
Byner's moment is one of the more powerful in the film. It was unexpected and unrehearsed, but he said it was not a catharsis.
Big Daddy Carl Hairston. K-Mack [Kevin Mack].
Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame Earnest Byner (The Fumble)
Bernie [Kosar]. And all of those emotions really built up until that moment.
It just kind of got into the zone and happened. The Browns had fallen behind , but waged a furious comeback and were about to tie the game at 38 when Byner ran around left end.
Receiver Webster Slaughter did not run a corner route deep enough, though, which brought cornerback Jeremiah Castille into the play.
Castille dove toward Byner as he approached the goal-line and the ball fell out of Byner's hand and into Castille's.
Castille played one more season. Byner learned to live with the pain of crushing disappointment.
He cried with teammates. He received hate mail. He said the play changed how he played the game.
I was still playing at a high level, but because of how I took that and how I allowed other people to influence how I took it, it was something that did really start to kind of take [over] me from inside out. I had to actually forgive myself after a while.
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