Tim Couch starts to return to work, and is cautiously optimistic about returning to the starting role for Kansas City. After going through some drills today, Couch will have a short period of time to see how the elbow reacts. Plus, more info on the walking wounded."> Tim Couch starts to return to work, and is cautiously optimistic about returning to the starting role for Kansas City. After going through some drills today, Couch will have a short period of time to see how the elbow reacts. Plus, more info on the walking wounded.">

Couch: 'Willing to throw through the pain'

<A HREF="http://scout.theinsiders.com/a.z?s=149&p=8&c=1&nid=293285&yr=2002">Tim Couch</A> starts to return to work, and is cautiously optimistic about returning to the starting role for Kansas City. After going through some drills today, Couch will have a short period of time to see how the elbow reacts. Plus, more info on the walking wounded.

BEREA - Tim Couch took the first step towards returning to the starting lineup when he threw for the first time since suffering an injury to his right elbow eight days ago.

Couch participated in all individual and team driils. He wasn't on the field for a two-minute drill that finished practice. Kelly Holcomb commanded that drive.

Before practice, Couch was cautiously optimistic that he will be ready to go Sunday for the season opener against Kansas City.

"I'm definitely willing to throw through the pain, as long as it's not affecting the throws that I make," Couch said. "If I can't go out and throw a certain route, I'm not going to go out there and let the team down. If I can't make all the throws, then I'm not ready to go."

Butch Davis seemed more optimistic than Couch after practice.

"I haven't been discouraged at all," Davis said. "If he continues to have the success that I think he'll have, then we'll increase his work as the week goes along. Nothing has happened that leads us to believe that he won't be able to play on Sunday."

There are no plans at this time for Couch to have surgery, but that could be an option after the season.

"I'll have to sit down with the doctors to see what's best," Couch said. "Whether it's just rest or to go in there and clean out whatever is in there. The gameplan right now is to continue doing what we've done and continue to rest it, and hopefully it will heal on its own."

RARING TO GO: Kenard Lang watched Monday's practice, but he plans to play Sunday. Lang suffered a high ankle sprain eight days ago against Green Bay.

"What about Sunday? I'm there already," Lang said. "I anticipate being there on Sunday and being with my teammates and going to war with them."

FIRST LOOK: Tight end Steve Heiden could play against Kanas City. With Aaron Shea out because of a sore shoulder, Heiden might be forced into playing time.

"I'm going to possibly have some role to play on Sunday," said Heiden. "We're going to see how it comes for me and how fast I pick it up. I'll do whatever they ask of me."

OUT OF IT: Lang and Shea weren't the only sideline observers on Monday. H-back Aaron Shea (shoulder) watched, as did safety Earl Little (ankle) and linebacker Ben Taylor (hamstring). Shea's injury appears to be the worst of the group. He still is using a sling to support the shoulder.

PRACTICE SQUAD: The five-player practice squad is expected to be announced today. Look for some players cut by the Browns to be on the list, including offensive lineman Konrad Dean, defensive end Michael Josiah and defensive back Michael Jameson.


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