Sept Magazine Preview: Tim Couch, Part 2

Couch laughs now when he thinks back to that day, especially since Yeast was one of the reasons he decided to come to Kentucky because he knew he would have a game-breaking receiver to catch his passes.

Couch laughs now when he thinks back to that day, especially since Yeast was one of the reasons he decided to come to Kentucky because he knew he would have a game-breaking receiver to catch his passes.

"Craig likes to play jokes. I learned that. He didn't even look at me when I tried to introduce myself," Couch laughed and said. "I was thinking this was not going well. Finally he raised up and let me know all he cared about was getting the football and winning. But I have to admit, when he did get the ball, great things happened. He was right about that."

"Craig and I still have a real close relationship. We give each other a hard time back and forth. We still trash talk when we get together. We did camps together this summer and were throwing balls and running routes. I really enjoy Craig even if he did mess with me that first day."

No one messed with Couch for long at Kentucky. He completed 795 of 1,184 passes for 8,435 yards, including 4,275 yards in 1998 when UK won seven games and played in the Outback Bowl, and 74 touchdowns. One of his more memorable completions was a 97-yard scoring strike to Yeast against Florida in 1998.

He left Kentucky after his junior season -- when he was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy -- in 1998 holding NCAA record for most completions in a season (400 in 1998), most completions in a two-year period (763 in 1997-1998), most completions per game in a two-year period (34.7, 1997-1998) and career completion percentage (67.1 percent).

Cleveland made Couch the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and he became the expansion team's starting quarterback the second game of his rookie season in 1999. He was the starter for five full seasons but seldom had a strong supporting cast around him. He led the team to a playoff berth in 1992, but he also took so many hits that he was nagged with injuries. He missed the final nine games of the 2000 season with a shoulder injury, but in 2002 he threw for almost 3,000 yards and 18 touchdowns. The surprising Browns went 9-7 thanks to five wins in the final two minutes and seven victories by 10 points or less and made the playoffs. However, Couch broke his leg in the final regular-season game and then coach Butch Davis became enamored with backup Kelly Holcomb after he throw for over 400 yards in the playoff loss. Couch never got the chance to start again for the Browns.


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