American Football: Seventh sacking in two days is final for Kosar: Cleveland release their put-upon quarterback as Smith lifts Dallas. Henry Winter reports

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The Independent Online
BERNIE KOSAR, sacked six times in Cleveland's 29-14 defeat to Denver on Sunday, was yesterday released by the Browns.

The 29-year-old quarterback was drafted in 1985 by the club he had always supported and his confident, if slightly inelegant, play took the Browns to three AFC championship games in 1986, 87 and 89. Two years later, Kosar's radar-like accuracy set an NFL record when he threw 308 consecutive passes without an interception. This year he signed a dollars 26m ( pounds 18m) seven-year contract but his place has been in doubt since the arrival from Tampa Bay of Vinny Testaverde, a former team-mate at the University of Miami.

Kosar and his coach, Bill Belichick, have not seen eye-to-eye recently. Belichick said: 'I'm not going to bad mouth or bash Bernie. We'll sign another quarterback.'

Emmitt Smith's future at Dallas had appeared cloudy at the start of the season. Denied Smith's dashing services by a contract dispute, the Super Bowl champions promptly lost twice but his return to uniform ensured six wins in a row. Smith's importance to the Cowboys' cause was confirmed again on Sunday when the 24-year-old running back rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-9 win over their NFC East rivals, the New York Giants.

Smith was not the lone star for the Texans. Troy Aikman, once again, played a sizeable part, completing 11 of 13 passes for 162 yards and two touchdown deliveries to Alvin Harper. Early in the third quarter Aikman departed with a strained hamstring but Jason Garrett maintained the momentum, helping Smith to score with runs of one and two yards. 'They kicked our butts,' the Giants head coach, Dan Reeves, commented.

Watching Dallas dominate was their former coach, Tom Landry, returning to Texas Stadium for the first time since his dismissal. At half-time Landry was inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honour.

While one coaching great was lauded, another struggled. Miami's Don Shula aimed to break George Halas' NFL mark of 324 wins in New York but Boomer Esiason harboured other ideas, throwing for 256 yards and three TDs to propel the Jets to a 27-10 triumph.

'I was hoping to pass the record today and get it out of my mind and everyone else's mind and just concentrate on the football team,' Shula said. He should have known better, as the Jets have upset him 21 times in his 31-season career.

NFL: Dallas 31 NY Giants 9; Pittsburgh 24 Cincinnati 16; Denver 29 Cleveland 14; Detroit 23 Tampa Bay 0; Houston 24 Seattle 14; San Diego 30 Minnesota 17; Buffalo 13 New England 10 (ot); New York Jets 27 Miami 10; LA Raiders 16 Chicago 14; Phoenix 16 Philadelphia 3; Washington 30 Indianapolis 24.

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