Heneghan agrees to the clause. Repeat after the Browns brass: Anything for a player.
"We have 20,600 people working at MBNA, all of them in a very nice working environment," Lerner says. "We are very big believers that it pays to give people the most comfortable work environment possible. Showing people you care, I believe, motivates them."
Lerner pauses. "But," he adds, "if we give them the nice environment and they lose, then they lose the nice environment."
AUG. 9: CANTON
The first game back for the Browns is a preseason matchup against the Cowboys, and the most important event occurs with six minutes left in the third quarter. It's third-and-eight from the Dallas 11 with the Cowboys leading 17-14. From the shotgun, Couch finds no one open and takes off running. Instead of sliding when defensive end Sam Simmons blocks his path, Couch tries to bull his way for the first down. Simmons levels him two yards short of the first down. But the partisan Browns crowd appreciates the macho act, and Couch's teammates know he's got guts. A veteran tells him, "Slide next time."
"Screw that!" Couch hollers, wild-eyed. "I'm Superman!"
AUG. 17: CLEVELAND
On an evening off, Jim Pyne and fellow offensive linemen Jim Bundren and Steve Gordon are relaxing at the Chop House, a downtown meat emporium. "Hey," Bundren tells Pyne, "my muscles are locking up. I'm cramping, bad." Bundren remembers the 800 number on his key chain, and he struggles to the pay phone at the front of the restaurant. He punches in the number and reports his problem. In exactly four minutes—the Browns keep a log of such things—club security operations manager Carl Meyer arrives in a team SUV. A police escort rushes the vehicle through downtown traffic to the Cleveland Clinic, and 15 minutes after Bundren mentioned his problem to Pyne, a saline-solution IV is in his arm.
"They do a lot for us," Bundren says. "It makes you want to do a lot for them."
AUG. 19: BEREA