It's now or never in quest for Couch

If Tim Couch is going to be suiting up for the Packers this season, a trade to bring him to Green Bay from Cleveland will have to take place within the next two weeks as far as the Packers are concerned. The Packers and Browns have been negotiating a trade for the quarterback since March, but have yet to come to an agreement.<p>

"Probably in the next two weeks if it doesn't happen, it won't happen," said director of pro personnel Reggie McKenzie after the team's first practice of its June minicamp Wednesday. Both sides have come to a standstill over the length of the contract and money. The Packers are reportedly only willing to pay Couch a backup's wages while the former No. 1 pick of the 1999 draft is seeking much more.

The Packers are the only NFL team seriously interested in Couch. If he is acquired by the Packers, he will compete against veteran Doug Pederson and third year pro Craig Nall for the backup spot behind Brett Favre.

"We're winding this thing down," Packers coach and general manager Mike Sherman said. "One way or the other. I can't say that it's going one way or the other just yet, but it's winding down. We're about ready to make something happen one way or the other."

The Browns are trying to get what they can for Couch, who split time at quarterback with Kelly Holcomb last year. Cleveland signed free agent Jeff Garcia this off-season, leaving no room for Couch and his $7.6 million salary on this year's roster. The Browns are likely seeking a late-round draft pick for Couch. The Packers would only trade for Couch if he agrees to a reduced salary for this season.

One other possibility is the Browns will keep Couch in hopes a team's starting quarterback gets injured during training camp or the preseason. That would give the Browns leverage in trade talks.

"His agent (Tom Condon) is still trying to get him out of Cleveland," said McKenzie. "We're just in a holding pattern. Right now we have no idea of what Tim and his people want to do. What's going to happen? I don't know. His agent really wants him to be a free agent so he can test the market. We'll see."

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