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Couch Sees Potential Future In Green Bay


Many obstacles still remain before the prospect of Cleveland Browns quarterback Tim Couch becoming the potential heir to Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre can become a reality.

But after meeting with Packers coaches and staff Tuesday night and most of Wednesday, Couch said his visit to team headquarters this week, which was approved by the Browns, did nothing to suggest that his future lies elsewhere.

"I just wanted to come here and see the facilities, meet the coaching staff and get just a quick orientation of the (Packers) offense," Couch said. "Everything that I wanted to hear and everything that I wanted to see here was covered ...

"I think this system fits me really well. I've always wanted to run the West Coast system. I always thought it would be a good fit for me, so I'm really looking forward to it if I get a chance to play here."

Before that can happen, the Packers and Couch not only have to come to terms on a new contract, but potentially need to arrange a trade with the Browns, perhaps for a draft choice.

Couch said he was unsure how soon a trade like that could be reached between the two organizations, but said he thought there was a "really good chance" a deal could eventually be arranged, even if not until after the NFL Draft, April 24-25.

As for the Packers, pro personnel director Reggie McKenzie said that the team's "interest in acquiring Tim Couch remains very positive," but noted that "there are still other factors that need to be worked out."

If a deal were to be arranged, Couch, who was almost immediately thrust into the starting role in Cleveland after being the first overall selection of the 1999 draft, would be relegated to back-up duty in Green Bay. But the 26-year-old acknowledged that the positives of a future starting role with the Packers could outweigh the negatives of an immediate spot on the sideline.

"I've been fortunate enough to play a lot so far," Couch said. "I have a lot of experience in the league, but I'm still young. I have time to learn the game, sit back and watch a guy like Brett, and be ready to go when I get my chance."

Making 59 starts over his five years in the league, Couch has completed 59.8 percent of his passes (1,025 of 1,714) for 11,131 yards and 64 touchdowns, with 67 interceptions.

The Browns' signing of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia this spring was an indication the team was going in another direction, which is something Couch hopes to do as well.

"I'm really looking forward to a fresh start," Couch said. "I'm looking for a change of scenery and (Green Bay) is a place I think I can be more successful, be on a better team and do some better things."

Doug Pederson, who is an unrestricted free agent, has been the Packers' No. 2 quarterback behind Favre the past two seasons, with 2002 fifth-round draft pick Craig Nall holding down the third spot over that span.

It's unknown exactly how many more seasons the 34-year-old Favre will decide to play, but Couch said backing up the three-time NFL MVP, who has played 210 consecutive games, would have its benefits.

"That's going to be an adjustment," Couch said of the reserve role. "I'm used to playing and starting. But I think this is a unique situation. This is Brett Favre and he's one of the all-time greats. He's one of my all-time favorite players.

"I'd just be looking forward to working with him and picking his brain, learning a little bit from him and just watching the way he operates on a day-to-day basis."

Last season, Favre was the NFL leader with 32 touchdown passes and was voted to his eighth Pro Bowl.

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