Couch Injured In Preseason Loss To Packers


GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - The Cleveland Browns got another scare, and it had nothing to do with the Green Bay Packers.

Quarterback Tim Couch strained his right forearm in Cleveland's 27-20 exhibition loss at renovated Lambeau Field on Monday night. X-rays were negative but Couch will have a precautionary MRI on Tuesday.

Couch is confident he'll be ready for the season opener Sept. 8 against the Chiefs but was unsure about the exhibition finale against Carolina on Friday.

"I'll definitely be ready for Kansas City," he said.

With Green Bay playing without its starting cornerbacks, Couch completed 14 of 18 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown as the Browns built a 14-0 lead. He was replaced by Kelly Holcomb with 2:45 left before halftime.

Couch felt pain while following through on an 8-yard pass to Quincy Morgan on the Browns' fourth offensive series.

"I thought the pain would kind of go away. I threw a couple more passes but I just got to the point where I couldn't grip the ball," Couch said.

"I was worried at first. I couldn't figure out what was wrong. I thought it would go away and I thought it was a temporary thing," Couch said. "It's going to be fine. It's actually settled down a lot since it first happened."

The No. 1 pick in the 1999 NFL draft has been plagued by tendinitis in his right elbow the last three seasons. His season was cut short after seven games in 2000 when he broke his right thumb.

The Browns already have lost Pro Bowl linebacker Jamir Miller for the season. He tore his right Achilles' tendon against Minnesota on Aug. 10.

Terry Glenn failed to make his Green Bay debut at Lambeau Field, which is halfway through a two-year, $295 million remodeling. Sherman hoped to unveil his offseason acquisition for a series or two.

"He had a few warmups. His knee stiffened up a little," Sherman said. "I'd like to have gotten him in there but didn't want to risk it."

The Packers gave Sherman fits until Cletidus Hunt blocked a field-goal attempt by Phil Dawson and Darren Sharper scooped it up and ran 35 yards for a touchdown 19 seconds before halftime, bringing Green Bay to 14-10.

"It kept spitting out," Sharper said. "I just decided to not fall on it and pick it up."

Until then, the record crowd of 62,668 had little to cheer.

"It certainly got them back in the game," Browns coach Butch Davis said.

Sherman, infuriated by sloppy practices the last week, criticized his starters but said it's tough to play without cornerbacks Mike McKenzie (calf) and Tyrone Williams (groin).

Undrafted rookie Erwin Swiney replaced McKenzie and had a solid game but gave up a touchdown pass.

Andre' Davis returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, and after the Packers went three-and-out, Couch threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Quincy Morgan to cap a 13-play, 77-yard drive highlighted by a 15-yard face mask penalty on rookie Marques Anderson.

The Packers pulled to 14-13 on Ryan Longwell's second field goal, a 33-yarder after Brett Favre threw too high to top draft pick Javon Walker, who was wide open. Favre finished 10-of-14 for 63 yards and an interception.

After Dawson's 28-yarder made it 17-13, Green Bay took its first lead when fullback Chris Gall hauled in a short pass from Doug Pederson and rumbled 35 yards to put the Packers ahead 20-17.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Todd Franz intercepted a pass from Josh Booty and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown, putting Green Bay up 27-17. Jay Taylor's 35-yard field goal with 7:13 left capped the scoring.

Notes: Browns DE Kenard Lang sprained his right ankle and offensive tackle Ryan Tucker sprained his left ankle. X-rays on both were negative. H-back Aaron Shea sprained his right shoulder in the second quarter, and DE Felipe Claybrooks injured his right knee in the third quarter. DB Earl Little left with a sprained ankle.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)