"I will not have sex for the rest of the season if we win." The Browns won 34-10, and Kosar kept his promise despite some of the most alluring temptations of his life.

The Browns finished 10-5 and on top of the AFC Central division.

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His is by consensus the most difficult job in athletics, and it requires an obsessive-compulsive attention to detail. He was smart enough to go a record 308 pass attempts without an interception.

But sometimes they sculpt their singular and all-consuming skill to the detriment of the balance needed for the rest of life's tacklers. Smart enough to help build several businesses after football, with a 6 percent interest in a customer-service outsourcing company that sold for more than $500 million.

There are about as many real teeth in the cup as there are in what remains of his smile. That kind of control -- over other strong men, over huddles, over winning, over entire swaying stadiums and their surrounding cities -- is just about impossible to let go ... And now he quotes the old pipe-smoking coach and applies those lessons from nearly three decades ago to today: "Son, I'm not going to lie. As creditors close in and his divorce has gotten messy in public, Kosar has had some suicidal thoughts, but he says, "I couldn't quit on my kids. He speaks with a slur and admits there has been drinking and pain medication in his past, but says the only thing he's addicted to is football. "I'm outnumbered now." He has found therapy in learning how to clean the house with the kids and dealing with life's smaller headaches. And you can see just as clearly that Kosar is going to get crushed. This is what his life once was and what it is now -- a swirl of chaos and pain and danger surrounding a man who has to remain in control for the people around him as everything feels like it is falling apart.

as is the attendant attention, ego, importance, popularity, fun and life. As he tries to reorganize his life in a dark period that leaves his mind racing and sleepless, the people he quotes aren't philosophers and poets. Just the other day, while in a 10-hour bankruptcy meeting with 10 attorneys that left him "humbled and in pain and feeling betrayed" as he took a detailed inventory of his life, he excused himself with a smile because one of his daughters -- the oldest of his children lives with him full time, the others part time -- was calling with some sort of popularity crisis. "I just wanted to play football," the old quarterback says.

He is coughing up phlegm from a sickness he is certain arrived with all the recent stress of divorce and debt, and now he doesn't walk so much as wobble his way into one of the closets upstairs, where he happens upon some painful, wonderful memories he keeps sealed in a plastic cup. So is the surgical screw that finally broke through the skin in his ankle because of how crooked he walked for years. He was always the giraffe trying to survive among lions. He has merely traded one cutthroat arena in which people compete for big dollars for another, and today's is a hell of a lot less fun than the one that made him famous. Kosar holds up his left arm and points to the scar on his elbow. A groaning Kosar, 45, gets down very slowly onto the rug until he is symbolically on his hands and knees at the center of what used to be his glamorous life. He says financial advisers he loved and trusted mismanaged his funds, doing things like losing $15 million in one quick burst. In it, he is in the pocket with the Browns, and everything is collapsing all around him.

He broke that ankle in the first quarter of a game against the Miami Dolphins in 1992; he threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter anyway. "I don't know how many." He holds out all 10 gnarled fingers. And then he signs the documents that begin the process of filing for bankruptcy. "It was all worth it." Brett Favre has made a spectacular public mess of his career punctuation because of how very hard it is for even the strongest among us to leave behind the applause for good. There's a .2 million judgment against him from one bank. A recent Sports Illustrated article estimated that, within two years of leaving football, an astounding 78 percent of players are either bankrupt or in financial distress over joblessness and divorce. Charities, while putting nearly 100 kids through school on scholarships? You can see Kosar's offensive linemen either beaten or back-pedaling.So desperate was he to win the game that he said a prayer."God, please help me," said Kosar, who was single and the object of desire for many attractive ladies.Smart enough to have a wing of the business school at the University of Miami named after him. But now that the maids and wife are gone, you know how he feels walking into a grocery store by himself for the first time? He never had to grow up, really, as anything but a quarterback. He watched John Elway direct "The Drive" to beat the Browns in another AFC Championship game. In two seasons, he had more come-from-behind victories than any other quarterback.