Couch Goes Off On Booing Browns Fans

By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - Tim Couch's head didn't hurt as much as the pain in the pit of his stomach.

Couch, Cleveland's embattled quarterback who had been booed earlier in the game, suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter of the Browns' 26-21 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night.

Following the game, a teary-eyed Couch ripped Cleveland fans for their lack of support.

Couch choked back tears during an expletive-laced tirade and said he was disgusted that fans cheered while he was laying on the field hurt.

"They (fans) got their own opinions, so if they don't like me, then that's all I'm going to say about it," he said. "I've been here going on four years now and laid it on the line for this team and city. For them to turn on me and boo me is my home stadium is a joke. I've worked my butt off here and it's hard to take, man."

Couch, a former No. 1 overall draft pick, has been criticized by some Browns fans for his lack of production the past three years.

He missed the first two games this season with an elbow injury, and while he was out backup Kelly Holcomb led the Browns to a win and was the NFL's second-highest rated passer.

Couch (pictured, above) returned to the lineup and was the AFC's offensive player of the week after leading the Browns to a win at Tennessee in Week 3.

But after a rocky first half Sunday night, Browns fans began to boo Couch and call for Holcomb.

At one point, Couch ran onto the field and mockingly encouraged the fans to boo.

"I feel the players and coaches believe in me, but it's tough going out there and fighting two battles -- playing the Ravens and being booed in your own stadium."

Couch finished 16-of-26 for 216 yards with one TD and two interceptions.

In less than a quarter, Holcomb went 13-of-23 for 180 yards with two TDs and two interceptions.

Kevin Johnson, perhaps Couch's closest friend on the team, was also critical of the fans for booing.

"That was totally wrong," Johnson said. "There is no other way to put it, you don't do that to a guy."

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