<
>

Month after signing two-year deal, Couch released by Jaguars

The comeback attempt of quarterback Tim Couch, who was the first player selected overall in the 1999 draft, but who hasn't played in an NFL regular-season game since 2003, took a hit on Saturday when the Jacksonville Jaguars released the five-year veteran.

Jacksonville also made three other roster moves in advance of its Saturday night preseason game against Tampa Bay, placing offensive lineman Stockar McDougle on injured reserve and signing a pair of defensive linemen, 10-year veteran tackle Seth Payne and first-year end Tyler King.

But it was the release of Couch, who last month signed a two-year contract with the Jaguars, which drew the most attention. The move by the Jaguars could end Couch's career, which has been marked in recent years by shoulder injuries.

The former University of Kentucky star was chosen by Cleveland with the top pick in 1999, and played five seasons with the Browns. He was in training camp with Green Bay in 2004, but had shoulder problems and was released. Couch has spent much of the past three years attempting to rehabilitate his shoulder and to get back into the league.

He logged 11 snaps in last week's preseason opener, working two series, and completed two of four passes for 11 yards. He was also sacked twice. It was obvious in the first few weeks of camp that Couch had lost considerable arm strength because of his shoulder woes. While he faced long odds on a Jacksonville roster that included four other quarterbacks, he hoped to get enough playing time in preseason to perhaps draw interest from other teams.

In five seasons, Couch has completed 1,025 of 1,714 passes for 11,131 yards, with 64 touchdown passes and 67 interceptions, for a passer efficiency rating of 75.1. Couch, 30, has appeared in 62 games and started 59 of them.

The roster move with McDougle, who tore his Achilles during practice early this week, was anticipated. The seven-year veteran, a first-round choice of the Detroit Lions in 2000, has played both tackle and guard in his career, and has appeared in 79 games, with 56 starts.

Payne, 32, has spent the entire spring as an unrestricted free agent but now returns to the franchise with which he began his NFL career as a fourth-round pick in the 1997 draft. Payne had worked out for several teams in the offseason but was not offered a contract until Jacksonville contacted him.

In stints with Jacksonville (1997-2001) and Houston (2002-2006), the former Cornell star has played in 121 games, with 98 starts. A solid defender versus the run, Payne has 617 career tackles and 17 ¬Ĺ sacks, but injuries limited him to five games with the Texans in 2006, and he finished the year on injured reserve.

King, who played at the University of Connecticut, spent time on the St. Louis and San Diego practice squads last season.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.