Packers about to buy a used Couch

Finally. After a seemingly never-ending courtship, the Green Bay Packers have landed Tim Couch to be the backup quarterback to Brett Favre.

According to several media outlets and later confirmed by Couch, the former Cleveland Brown will sign a one-year contract with the Green Bay Packers on Tuesday. The deal is worth $1.25 million.

"I'm excited," Couch told The Associated Press. "This is a great opportunity for me to start a new chapter in my career. And, I'm going to a team that has a real chance to win the Super Bowl."

Couch, the former University of Kentucky star and top overall draft pick in 1999, has passed for 11,131 yards, 64 touchdowns and 67 interceptions in 59 career starts. He has a career completion percentage of 59.8 and a 75.1 passer rating. The Browns released him on Friday.

His best year came in 2002, when he connected for 18 touchdowns — with 18 interceptions — in 14 games. The Browns made the playoffs that season, but it was about that time when his career began to tumble. An injury to Couch provided an opening for Kelly Holcomb, who starred in a playoff defeat. Couch was unable to permanently regain the starting spot.

The Couch-to-Green Bay rumors began in the spring, when the Browns signed former San Francisco starter Jeff Garcia to be their quarterback. With Couch scheduled to earn $7.6 million for the 2004 season, it became clear his days in Cleveland were numbered.

The Packers in March received permission from the Browns to work out a trade with Couch's agent, but no deal was struck, mostly because Couch wanted a one-year contract while the Packers wanted to sign him for two years.

Couch wanted only a one-year deal so he can seek a starting job elsewhere for 2005. Couch, however, told The AP that the Packers have already expressed interest in extending the deal.

Couch started eight games last season, completing 59.1 percent of his passes for 1,319 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions. His career stats aren't much better, but much of the blame can fall on a makeshift offensive line, a weak receiving corps and, until William Green was tabbed in the first round in 2002, a running attack that was unable to take the pressure off Couch.

Writing for Yahoo! last week, future NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter said the Packers would be a great fit for Couch.

"Sitting under Brett Favre in Green Bay is the best option for him," Carter wrote. "Even in the backup role, he would not be considered a slouch because he would be sitting behind the best. It also is a good place to learn. Favre isn't going to play that much longer, which makes it even more attractive."

Couch said other teams expressed interest but the Packers "were always my No.1 choice."

Also Monday, the Packers waived cornerback Derek Combs. He played in eight games for the Packers and spent the spring in NFL Europe.


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