Saturday, October 16, 2004

Couch willing to try again

Ex-Browns QB training in Fla., brother says

By Kevin Kelly
Enquirer staff writer

When his name is mentioned these days, it's often in question form.

The last update many received on Tim Couch came in early September when the Packers released the 27-year-old quarterback.

Once the cornerstone of the expansion Browns, for whom he started 59 of 62 games from 1999-2003, Couch now is not listed on any NFL roster.

According to his brother, the former Kentucky standout and No. 1 NFL draft pick is in Florida resting and rehabilitating a sore throwing arm in anticipation of a return.

"There have been several teams that have called since he was released from Green Bay, but he's just not able to go yet," Greg Couch said this week. "His agent (Tom Condon) is kind of holding everything off until he's ready to go.

"I don't think there's a certain time frame (to resume playing). He's just going to try and take care of it. If it's this year, fine. If it's not, we'll do it next year."

Couch went 22-37 as a starter in Cleveland and helped lead the Browns to the playoffs in 2002, only to lose the starting job in training camp last season.

The fickle five-season relationship between the sides ended with Couch's release June 11.

Cleveland signed free agent quarterback Jeff Garcia to a four-year, $25 million contract March 9 and tried unsuccessfully to trade Couch in the months that followed.

During that period, the Browns requested that Couch, though still under contract, stay away from the team's training facility out of liability concerns.

Couch went to Florida, began working out with a personal trainer and filed a grievance against the Browns that later was withdrawn as part of his release.

The Packers signed him June 16 in the hopes he might become Brett Favre's successor.

Couch completed 11 of 34 passes for 96 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions in three preseason games for Green Bay but was bothered by tendinitis in his right shoulder and elbow. He missed 10 of the last 12 practices, and his Sept. 5 release has led to an injury grievance being filed on Couch's behalf, according to published reports.

"As far as Cleveland, he wasn't disappointed with that. I think it was a good situation for him to be out of there," Greg Couch said. "But with Green Bay, he really wanted that to work out. He just got in there and the tendinitis set in, and there was nothing he could do."



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