Preliminary talks start next week

Updated: February 11, 2004, 2:31 AM ET
Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Browns president Carmen Policy is confident that salary issues can be worked out with quarterback Tim Couch.

Couch, scheduled to make $7.6 million next season, will meet with Policy next week to begin preliminary talks about reworking his contract.

Couch will be back with the Browns only if he restructures his deal, and Policy thinks that can happen.

"I realistically see a strong possibility of him being with the Browns next season," Policy said Tuesday night at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards.

Last season, Couch, the No. 1 overall NFL draft pick in 1999, lost his starting job to Kelly Holcomb at the end of training camp only to get it back when Holcomb got hurt and struggled.

Couch has repeatedly stated that he wants to come back to Cleveland to finish what he started. However, Policy said he wants to make sure Couch's past comments were truthful before the sides begin serious contract negotiations.

"I think he's going to want to know how we feel about him and the kind of support we're willing to give him, and do we want him," Policy said. "I'm going to ask him the same thing."

Policy plans to meet with coach Butch Davis on Wednesday to discuss Couch. He said if all goes well, the matter should be resolved in the next month.

Holcomb, one of several Browns players to attend the ceremony, said he isn't worried about how Couch's negotiations will affect his future with the team.

"As I've always said, it's all about the Cleveland Browns, and not who plays quarterback," Holcomb said.

Policy also said running back William Green, suspended last season for violating the NFL's substance abuse program, has been making progress after completing a rehab program.

Policy has not met with Green, but he has heard good reports from those in contact with the second-year back.

"It's up to him now and we're going to support him," Policy said. "We have supported him. We've done everything we could to give him the benefit of the doubt. It's up to him now to make sure it works because we can only go so far."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press