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Couch Looks Like Rookie for Browns

Football: Quarterback, the No. 1 pick in last weekend's draft, participates in first mini-camp for Cleveland.

April 24, 1999|From Associated Press

BEREA, Ohio — The ball came out of Tim Couch's hand, a perfect spiral, and flew 30 yards on a line down field into the hands of . . . defensive back Eric Stokes--an interception!

Oh, well, what do you want on the first day, even a No. 1 draft pick's first day?

Couch, the top selection in last weekend's draft, and the other Cleveland rookies practiced as pros for the first time Friday, joining Brown veterans at a weekend mini-camp.

Couch made a few nice plays--ducking the rush a couple of times and hitting receivers out of the backfield--but at other moments he looked like what he is, a rookie struggling to adjust to an NFL offense.

It's little wonder. Couch arrived in Cleveland on Tuesday and has been spending about four hours a day trying to learn a big chunk of Coach Chris Palmer's playbook.

"Right now, he's overwhelmed with it. He's like any rookie," Palmer said. "It all runs together. I'll take him from first grade to graduate school."

But Palmer still said he was pleased with Couch's overall performance.

"I thought he threw well," Palmer said. "A couple of times he took a five-step drop when he was supposed to take a three-step drop, but that's part of the game and learning what we're doing."

Couch was one of six Cleveland quarterbacks, all standing out in their orange, no-contact jerseys, who practiced with the team in a field house at the Browns' headquarters.

"I thought it went pretty well, especially for the first day," Couch said. "I made some mistakes, it was far from perfect, but I've got plenty of time to get better."

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