Moor or Less: Remembering Ross, following Eric, decluttering duty

Notre Dame defensive end Ross Browner couldn’t get a grasp on Pitt’s Tony Dorsett as he dashed out of the Panthers’ backfield in the 1976 home opener. While the Heisman Trophy winner-to-be juked his way down the field, the 248-pound Browner kept chasing him and brought him down 61 yards later.

It was the most impressive play I’ve ever seen a lineman make. Of course, Browner went on to win the Maxwell Award in 1977 as the outstanding player in the country. He played 10 seasons in the NFL and three of his brothers followed him into the pros.


Browner passed away Jan. 4 at the age of 67. A standout on both the 1973 and 1977 national championship teams, he was probably the most dynamic Irish defensive player I ever covered.

He died of complications from Covid, which shows that even the toughest of us may not be able to stand up to this dreaded disease.

I remember interviewing him while his proud mother stood by his side after the Notre Dame football banquet in 1977. I noticed a little diamond stud in one of his ears. After that, I never looked at any guy’s earring as a sissy thing again.

In 1982, I covered Super Bowl XVI in Detroit between Browner’s Bengals and Joe Montana’s 49ers.  The 49ers won, 26-21. Afterward, I watched Browner and Montana, Notre Dame teammates and former captains, embrace on the field.

A great moment between maybe the two greatest Irish players I had the privilege of covering for the Tribune.

In the mid-1970s, Montana may have  been the man on the offensive side but Ross was the boss on defense.

Rest ye well, No. 89.


A thoughtful Eric Hansen called me a few weeks ago to let me know in advance that he was leaving the Tribune.

As the newspaper’s sports editor, I had hired Eric to cover the Big Ten and other sports — “33 1/3 years ago,” according to him.

I found that number ironic. You oldsters know that the old album-sized records are 33 1/3s (for their rotations per minute). They are also called LPs for long play.

Long play. Eric certainly was a long — and successful — play at the Tribune, culminating with him becoming one of the sports world’s foremost experts on Notre Dame football. Nobody knows more about the Fighting Irish than Eric does.

He was tireless with his research and has been as good on the air as he is in print while breaking down the key points of the Irish games and program. And I guess you could say that he gave 133 1/3 percent.

He and Tyler James, another former Tribune sports writer, are now publishing and writing for InsideNDSports ( Looks like an online site Irish fans will want to visit.

Good luck to Eric and Tyler in their new endeavor.


My wife has had me down in the basement on a major purge as we get rid of things we no longer want or need.

One pile is for Goodwill, one pile is for the trash and one pile is for us to argue over its items and if it should be given the thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

Where did all this stuff come from? Billions of sports balls — OK, hundreds. Garden “necessities.” Enough LEGO left behind to build another house. Tubs of decorations for every season. More paint cans than C.E. Lee. Tools that I can’t even name. You get the point.

It makes me think back to my college days when I could get everything I owned into my Mustang when I drove home on summer break. And that included a bike, small refrigerator, TV, aquarium (with fish flopping around in the half-filled tank) and my complete wardrobe.

Those were the days …

… well, it could have been a little better. My wife wasn’t in my life yet. If she had been, I would have certainly left that cheap fridge on the curb and had her take its place in the shotgun seat beside me.