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The Bond of Winners “Mid 80s Browns”

The Bond of Winners “Mid 80s Browns”

Reflection is an excellent tool. It can teach us how to handle individual situations in life. When we reflect, it gives us a chance to slow down life, look at the different pictures of the day, adjust the situations that need to be and be prepared for the cycle of life that brings around a similar situation in the future.

The Original Dawgs(ODs) weekend celebration started with a get together Friday night at Days Inn in Richfield with about 300 of enduring and loving Browns fans, plus about 15 members of the ODs and ended Sunday with pre-game rituals and half time introductions on the 86 Browns team.

Some of the Original Dawgs were on the field prior to the game. During the pre-game intro, of the current Browns team, I had a chance to slow down the process and observe. I watched as the players came through the line of drum players and the 1986 team.

The 86 team is a team full of guys that showed an understanding of what it takes to win in the NFL and as a Cleveland Browns player. Not just for one year, but over a time that included 5 years in a row of NFL play-offs.

I didn’t see a single player introduce themselves or pay homage to the Original Dawgs. This included any brief conversation with a head coach, Marty¬†Schottenheimer who not only had a tremendous record as the Browns head coach, but went on to develop three other teams. I don’t know if we were spoken about during the week or was it any type of focused effort to make sure the now team member, rub shoulders with the former winners.

The ability to experience life, learn, grow then teach is available to all. It’s a continual process. That particular situation, in my opinion, could have been an time for short snippets to be shared with winners and those that truly ascribe to be winners.

I’m sure the most recent teams in the league, all want to win, but what I did’nt “observe”, maybe indication of real desire to win, a case where individuals want to exercise anonymity or a true lack of respect for those that have come before us. The characterics of a winner have to be trained then demanded.

Ok, some may say that just before the game is not the time to get involved with this type of growth. Perhaps that is true. If that is the case, should not there have been some type of arrangement set up for interaction.

Tapping into different levels of success is a way to learn success and how to be successful.

As I reflect on the Original Dawgs 86 reunion weekend, I can see how important the different levels of learning happened. Marty teaching and grooming us, each player receiving the info given to them and taking ownership of it and the challenges we made within the team because of competition, were ways we became winners.

I encourage all to take advantage of your shoulder rubbing with parents, teachers, coaches and winners that have come before you.

The weekend was a great affair for many reasons. They are the continued connection that we have with the Browns team, the loyal fans of the Browns and the special bond that we have as winners.


#Fortheloveofthegamemack and byner



Winners are around us every day. Outside of the super talented, outliers, winners have traits that run true through anything that is truly successful.


Winners are always hungry to learn more about their craft. There is an insatiable desire to learn and grow.

Those that think they have it all figured out will ultimately cost themselves and others that are depending on them.


Winners are respectful to those that earn their respect and those that don’t. They respect their families, teachers and coaches.

Those that don’t have respect or show respect will bite you in the ass eventually.


Winners have a basic honesty about them. They generally tell the truth even if it hurts them.

Those teammates, family members that cover for themselves will drive a wedge in between winning or success.


Winners are typically humble. They work hard to achieve and appreciate the opportunity to better themselves.

Those that become arrogant or boastful when successful will invariably shame the team or themselves.


Winners are the hardest driven competitors. They generally compete in everything they do. Their main competition is within. They compete to make themselves better more than competing against someone else.

If you have someone that has to be prompted constantly, winning may not be his/her goal.

Emotional Maturity

Winners have the ability to handle success and failure in similar fashion. There attitude rarely changes based on the circumstances surrounding their experiences. Winners learn to focus their energy so that all that happens benefits their lives.

Someone that is constantly up or down because of outside influences
will constantly blame others for what they have caused. The answer to their problems will never be them. Their erratic behavior and lack of balance will affect any team they are on.

Winners are overall good people. They are in love with being a winner and typically are never satisfied withe their achievements. The effort it takes to be a winner is continual as is the developmental process.

It’s a blessing and a curse.


Innate Competition

Innate Competition

There is always something to prove, something to grow through or an experience to grow from. At thirteen years in the league, while with the Baltimore Ravens, the below is what I shared in a interview.

“A seems like for my whole career, I’ve heard that we need somebody faster, younger, someone with fresh legs,” Byner said. “It’s always we need somebody better than Earnest Byner. I have nothing to prove. If you come out every day with something to prove as your motivation, you’re a somewhat shallow individual. I come out here every day to work for this football team.”

Working hard was never a challenge. Trying to do my best on a daily, no problem. Having to have someone ride my assinine, nope. The drive was always from within. Tell me what you needed from me, I’d die trying to make it happen.

The only coaching I fought against was from Granny.(Grandmother) The thing about that was I always knew she had the hammer. That hammer was her love for me. I gave her my all too. My best to her was my respect and love. My rock… My Spirit… My foundation, was from her.




To Win… It’s why each competition is gone into. The developmental process is an essential element in winning.

Everyday, winning should be on the minds of the competitors. That will certainly effect how meetings are attended, how weights are being lifted and how practice is practiced.

How to attend meetings, how to approach them, how to use mental vision in your preparation are all ways to build and/or change the preparation process of players and coaches.

In practice, I often could be hear saying “Win every play!” Why? Because, if the play is won in practice by each individual, that particular rep has taken on its importance to winning in the game.

You see, if a coordinator has taken the time to script a play in practice, there is a high likelihood that the play will be called in the game. If that play has that much importance given to it by all involved at practice, it may be called in the game. (Practiced to be perfect, while practicing to be perfect)

To me, meetings should be viewed the same. They are as crucial to the teams’ success as practice. If not, the team is looking at a recipe for losing.

The efforts to win each play, each day, will undoubtedly manifest more individual victories on GAMEDAY. Victories on GAMEDAY makes all the efforts to win during the week taste a whole lot better!



Wins and Losses

Today was a day of big wins and loss for some players. Cut day has never been a day I cherished. As a player and coach, I dredged seeing guys have to give up on the current team. On the other hand, life takes and gives. There are a bunch of guys that have the opportunity to continue to chase their dream of being on a team and ultimately winning a championship.

What a delight it is to be a part of a winning team. That’s on all levels of life. The teams we play on, support, cheer for, admire and love have special places in our hearts.

It’s a rare privilege to contribute in any way to a championship. It’s even more rare to be a a starter on a championship team. My stint with the Redskins proved to be some of the most important years of my life, especially spiritually. While being a starter was a blessing, anyone on that team had to feel special.

Today was the first cutdown day for the NFL. It was evident today that the numbers were down. This made me realize how big of a deal this game is annnnddd how special it is to be a part of this game.

It gave me an opportunity to speak with some of the players about how special it is and how big of a deal this opportunity is. I really saw this and recognized it for the first time after I retired. I was looking at a depth chart in the draft room of the Ravens after the final cut date. There were only three names on the board under running backs. WOW! It hit me like a ton! How special it was for my name to be on that board and even more so… I was one on the starters! Real stuff…

When I went out to practice that day and again saw how few players were on the field, I was again thankful for the chance to have played in the NFL.

Enjoy your ride young and old NFL players! It is indeed a well earned blessing to play the game and even more to truly excel.


Culture Shock

“Sad years” characterize teams that have been consistently losing. They have had to make coaching and or front office changes and in some cases have purged their rosters. For some teams that has been their reality… their norm. The ways of doing things, that led to the need of new blood, have to be rooted out. An organizational difibulator has had to be used. “Culture Shock”

It can be recognized right now, at this very moment. When organizations decide to change the mindset that has prevailed, it takes a concerted and focused effort. The battle for this is a hell of a challenge, but a battle worthy of undertaking so lasting change can be in effect. The shock to the mental and nervous system of the players will be a strange one, but the fight needs to be waged with unyielding perseverance.

During the first two pre-season games, the Browns have faced two teams that have had to go through cultural change. It’s Atlanta’s second year while Green Bay has been a mainstay in the post season for some time. Both, as you know, are ahead of the curve and down the road some with the culture change and buy in from the players. With it being Kotter’s second year running the offense, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ahead on the offensive side but have to play catch up on the defensive side.

Yes, the Browns are behind the teams that are being faced when you consider time on task for the staff, player connections and the expectations. Growth, in short order, is the prescription, when we know team building and winning is the consideration. The willness to battle for winning ways has to be built and reinforced, especially from a players perspective.

I was willing to fight for that growth. I didn’t know what it would take, totally, to make the team become a winner. But, I knew we had to become a team that out worked the opponents, challenged each other and competed each and everyday to be the best we could be. Yes!!! I was willing to physically fight when I saw the challenges placed before us not being met. Yes!!! I was nuts… My love for the team and it’s overall well being was my barometer.

I’ll ask… Do you love the team enough to make the necessary sacrifices that will produce team wide success?

There must be continual buy in and enough love to make that move. Yes… It’s a bold move, but a worthy one. Which team, with new leadership, will be able to produce the desired results the quickest will most assuredly have gotten the attention of key players and done the necessary follow up need to foster the desired results.


Good Soldier or Not

A process of getting your orders, mentally ingesting them or make them yours, has to be taken to heart. Either you take the lead in this part of the team process or you may become one of the ones that will not fulfill your potential.

Good and great players have a way of receiving good coaching and making the coaching points better. In my mind a good player can play in any system because he has the ability to make his game relevant in any scheme.

The players that take ownership of the information given to them, then have the ability to do what’s required of them, make the others on the team better. They do this by spreading the good news to the others in a way that requires them to acquiesce.

Problems come when guys think they know better then the coaches or perhaps a culture of accepting less than has been the way of doing things. They tend to hear the coach but not listen.

A losing culture has too much of hearing but not listening. They are use to doing what they think is right as opposed to following the instructions given or they don’t take the instruction and make it work for them. Theses guys will end up hurting themselves and the teams that they are on.

What’s not recognized by those type is that they will, in short order, be out of the game. Carnage by the side of the game’s road, is what they will be.

Whether it’s they can’t or won’t do what’s asked of them does matter to me. The can’t ones have to be replaced with those that can and will. The ones that won’t need to be replaced because they present an I know best attitude. Both will produce an overall losing mentality.

They are dangerous! Thus, they need to be found out, instructed and advised of the consequences of their mentality, then dealt with appropriately.

The good soldiers, team players, will get it. They are the ones that you give more ownership to. They will also be the ones that can and must reach and teach the others.


Loving You From The Inside


The inner spirit is there. Comforting, giving direction, unctions and vision. It is there constantly. Never wavering, never changing and always balanced.

When we get angry, lose our temper or having a moment of insanity, what is the cause of this? Is the inner spirit angry? The body is definitely affected. The heart races, temperature rises and nerves get frayed. When our minds return to normalcy, what has changed about the inner spirit. Has it moved? Is it altered by the anger that the mind and body has just experienced?

When an individual smokes a joint or ingest marijuana by eating, what is affected by the inhalation or ingestion? Is it the body or mind or Inner Spirit? When the affects of the smoking or eating have worn off, what has changed within? Has the spirit that is within been affected?

It is said that the Spirit is the same… Yesterday, today and tomorrow. It will never change and will always be. The inner Spirit is never affected by what our bodies or minds go through. It’s our one constant. It’s always there, watching and waiting for us. Ready and able to give, guide and direct at any moment. When we say, I’m drunk, high, angry or even sick… Or I suck, I failed or I’m a loser, who am I really talking about? For sure, not the inner spirit.

If we can save the judgement of ourselves and others, learn to feel from a balanced perspective, the Spirit will be there to catch all. Positive or not, the inner spirit is not affected. When we get off balance… And we will, check your inner guidance. Feel the balance that is provided and try to live a life from an inside out perspective. Freedom and love awaits.