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Wright On

Florida Times-Union reporter Michael C. Wright covers the ins and outs of the Jacksonville Jaguars. In this blog, he'll share behind-the-scenes anecdotes not published within the pages of the T-U, in addition to offering up incessant ramblings about nothing such as road trips, crummy hotels and not-so-delicious press box food. Perhaps he'll even delve into serious discussions about NFL issues. So ask questions, participate in conversations, or just learn more about the Jags.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Couch released, other roster moves

The Times-Union

Tim Couch’s NFL comeback will continue someplace other than Jacksonville.

The Jaguars released him on Saturday, just hours before the club was to take the field for its preseason game against Tampa Bay.

The No. 1 overall pick of the Cleveland Browns in 1999 draft, Couch signed a contract for the veteran minimum of $595,000 to join the Jaguars on July 29. He hadn’t played a down in the NFL since the 2004 preseason.

In other news, the club brought back former Jaguar Seth Payne in addition to signing defensive end Tyler King and placing offensive lineman Stockar McDougle on the injured reserve.

A 10-year veteran, Payne was originally a fourth-round pick of the Jags in 1997. Payne spent the first five years of his career in Jacksonville before joining the Houston Texans in 2002. He’s played the past five years in Houston, but participated in just five contests last season because of a knee injury.

Prior to his last knee injury, Payne had undergone three knee operations in a 12-month period.

King, 6-foot-5, 271 pounds, has spent time on the practice squads of St. Louis and San Diego. A former Connecticut standout, King hasn’t yet played in a regular-season game.

Couch worked out for Tennessee, Miami, Houston and Pittsburgh last season in an attempt to revive his career, but none of the teams signed him. Prior to that, Couch worked out for Chicago and Cincinnai in 2005.

“This is what I do and this is what I love to do,” he said after signing with the Jaguars. “Sitting out the last few years, I really got the hunger to play again. I didn’t like the way my career ended in Green Bay with the shoulder injury. I just want to give myself a chance to play a few more years and go out on better terms.”

Couch appeared to have that a shot at that when he signed with the Jaguars. Teams typically bring four quarterbacks to training camp as a way to keep the passers’ arms fresh by spreading out the repetitions. Third quarterback Quinn Gray began camp on the physically unable to perform list due to a sprained ankle.

So the club was left with Byron Leftwich, David Garrard and undrafted rookie Lester Ricard at quarterback. Needing another passer, the club signed Couch.

“We needed a fourth arm,” Jags coach Jack Del Rio said at the time. “We’re not asking a lot of him. What he’s getting is an opportunity, with no expectations other than [to] come out and play your best.”

Couch played five years in Cleveland, where he struggled with injury and the high expectations that come with being the No. 1 pick. He signed a one-year deal with Green Bay after leaving the Browns.

But Couch experienced difficulty in grasping the Packers’ West-Coast offense, in addition to battling more arm injuries.

Couch underwent shoulder surgery last year. Yet he didn’t appear to be fully healthy during camp and seemed to struggle with getting velocity on his passes.


Anonymous JJ Jones said...

Couch looked awful last week. The Payne signing surprises me. I wonder if he will make the team.

August 20, 2007 at 6:34 AM  

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