BEREA – Tim Couch says he's willing to talk about a new contract with the Browns, assuming the team feels the same way.
"They haven't approached me about it," said Couch, who will start Sunday against Denver. "I'm sure they're waiting to see how the next three weeks go. If they want me around, I'm sure I'll be willing to talk about it."
No matter where Couch plays next season, he'll play for less money. If he's waived, the team he signs with won't give him a contract anywhere close to what he had in Cleveland. If he remains with the Browns, he'll undoubtedly be asked to take a pay cut.
Couch's contract calls for base salaries of $7.6 million next season and $8 million in 2005. Added to his signing bonus, Couch's contract will be a hit of about $9.3 million on the 2004 salary cap.
After all he's endured this year, it's a surprise that Couch is even thinking about returning to Cleveland.
"Sometimes the grass isn't always greener on the other side," said Couch, who made five starts earlier this season when Holcomb was out with a foot injury. "Maybe it would be and maybe it wouldn't be. I know we have a good nucleus of guys that I like playing with here.
"I'm just going to go with the flow. If they want me here, I want to be here. If not, then I'll go elsewhere."
HOLCOMB HANGS TOUGH: Kelly Holcomb isn't giving up on his career despite the demotion.
"I haven't lost my confidence," Holcomb said. "I'm not going to doubt myself. I know I can play this game. You just have to work a little harder. I'm prepared to do that."
HAVE FOOT, WILL TRAVEL: New Browns kicker Brett Conway doesn't have any plans of making this a full-time job. Since being selected by Green Bay in the third round of the 1997 draft, Conway has spent time with seven teams, including two stops each with Oakland and the New York Jets.
"My career plan hasn't exactly gone as I planned in the beginning," said Conway, who played at Penn State. "I've had a couple of injuries. Without those injuries, I'd still be kicking somewhere. I'm trying to do it as long as I can. It's a pretty good gig, if you can get it."
REHABS SHORT AND LONG: Running back James Jackson's knee injury isn't as bad as first thought. Jackson suffered damage to the posterior cruciate ligament and was placed on reserve-injured, but he won't need surgery. He expects to begin running in three weeks.
Defensive end Courtney Brown had surgery Wednesday to repair ruptured tendons in his biceps. The recovery process is expected to last up to six months.
"I talked to Courtney Tuesday night, and he was surprisingly optimistic," coach Butch Davis said. "Courtney has a lot of faith in his life. He believes things happen for a reason. It's disappointing because it's the best year he's had since I've been here. It's a long rehab, but by May he'll be well."
ROSTER MOVES: The Browns signed defensive lineman Felipe Claybrooks and defensive back Ron Israel from the practice squad, and they signed running back Nick Maddox from Buffalo's practice squad. In addition, fullback Josh Mallard was signed to the active roster. Signed to the practice squad were kicker Derrick Frost and defensive end Corey Jackson.
Listed as questionable for the Broncos are running back Reuben Droughns (ankle), defensive end Reggie Hayward (shoulder) and cornerback Scott Turner (knee). Listed as probable are center Tom Nalen (knee), guard Dan Neil (knee), tight end Jeb Putzier (shoulder), offensive tackle Ephraim Salaam (knee), tight end Shannon Sharpe (rib) and receiver Rod Smith (flu).