Pederson not worried about Couch

As of Thursday night, quarterback Tim Couch was a member of the Cleveland Browns. The one Packers player Couch's career path could impact most is the one who is worrying the least.

Doug Pederson, the Packers' second-string quarterback, says he's not going to lose any sleep trying to keep tabs on the Couch rumor mill. Part of being a backup quarterback is fending off challenges, he said.

"Every year's the same, and that's why I don't worry about it too much," Pederson said. "If I worry about all that stuff, my hair's going to be even more gray. I can't worry about it. At 36, if it happens, and something unfortunate happens and I'm not here, I move on. Second phase of my life. But I'm not too concerned about that."

That second phase isn't necessarily retirement, he quickly noted.

"It could be another team," the 12-year veteran said. "There are 32 teams out there that need a backup quarterback. There's always injury situations. You never know what's going to happen, so it could be playing still, it could be coaching, it could be just going back and taking the year off."

Pederson is entering his fourth season with the Packers. As you'd expect from a player who backs up ironman Brett Favre, Pederson's opportunities have been limited. He completed both pass attempts last season. He made his mark in 2002 when Favre went down with a knee injury against the Redskins. Pederson shined, turning a 17-6 halftime lead into a 30-9 victory. He completed 9 of 15 passes for 78 yards in turning three possessions into 13 points.

Apparently only some paperwork issues are holding up the Browns' release of Couch. After breaking off talks for a bit, the Packers and agent Tom Condon have been negotiating for a couple weeks. Asked if those talks were bringing the two sides closer to an agreement, Packers head coach Mike Sherman matter-of-factly said, "No, I wouldn't say that."

With Couch's imminent release, acquiring 1999's No. 1 overall draft choice won't cost the Packers a draft pick. That's the good part, Sherman said. But, there's an obvious drawback to Couch being a free agent.

"Because he is on the market, now there's less hoops to jump through ... just us and them (Couch's camp)," Sherman said, eliminating Cleveland from the mix. "So, in that way, it's easy. But, obviously, there may be more competition for his services."

Keeping the focus on his team, Sherman praised his quarterbacks while talking to reporters after Thursday's practice.

"I was very pleased with our quarterbacks in this camp and what they did. We'll just have to see what happens," Sherman said.

For his part, Pederson's hunch is he'll be a Packer this season. "In the bottom of my heart, I feel like I'm going to be here."


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