Kramer's nickname in Detroit was "Brass", a media-friendly redaction of "Brass Balls". The moniker apparently originated after Kramer called an audible on his first series as Lions' quarterback, having just replaced the injured Rodney Peete. One Lions' offensive lineman turned to another and said, "This guy's got brass balls." Kramer proved to be quite successful as a signal-caller in 1991 and the nickname stuck. His other nickname was "Cosmo", which was due to him having the same last name as the character Cosmo Kramer from the popular TV show, Seinfeld.
Kramer was not able to keep his starting job for the next three years, however, sharing duties with Peete and Andre Ware. In 1994, he signed as a free agent with the Chicago Bears, and spent the next five years with the club. In his two full seasons as a starter (1995 and 1997), he was highly productive and passed for over 3,000 yards. Kramer currently holds the Bears' single-season record for passing yards (3,838) and touchdown passes (29). Kramer signed with the San Diego Chargers in the 1999 offseason, but retired midseason due to a neck injury. (Though he also missed much of the 1996 season with a neck injury, the two injuries were unrelated.)
Kramer finished his 13 NFL seasons with 1,317 completions for 15,337 yards and 92 touchdowns, with 79 interceptions. He also rushed for 217 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns.
After retiring from the NFL, Kramer went into sports broadcasting. He currently works for FSN Detroit, where he covers one of his former teams, the Detroit Lions, as an in-studio analyst. He also served as a color commentator on the Lions' preseason telecasts in 2007, and currently performs the same role for the Chicago Bears, working with Sam Rosen.
Kramer writes a personal blog for www.playerpress.com at www.erikkramerpass.com, where he discusses current events in the NFL and his former career and picks NFL games against the spread.
On Sun, October 30, 2011, Kramer's son Griffen, age 18 and a senior at Thousand Oaks High School, was found dead at a friend's home from a heroin overdose. Four people, including two juveniles, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and possession of a controlled substance by Sheriff's investigators in the matter.
Kramer survived a self-inflicted gunshot wound with non-life threatening injuries in an apparent suicide attempt on Wednesday, August 19, 2015. According to Kramer's ex-wife, her husband has a "beautiful soul" but is not the same man she once married due to head injuries suffered during his time as an NFL quarterback.