The Green Bay Packers released quarterback Tim Couch yesterday as they and other NFL teams made their final roster trims for the regular season.
The Packers signed Couch to a one-year, $1.25 million contract in June after he was released by the Cleveland Browns, but the former top overall draft choice struggled to pick up Green Bay's offensive system and was plagued by a sore arm. Green Bay waived rookie quarterback Scott McBrien, an undrafted free agent from the University of Maryland, and kept Doug Pederson and Craig Nall to back up Brett Favre.
"He just wasn't productive enough," Packers Coach Mike Sherman said of Couch at a news conference. "He's a good kid. He worked. He went to the meetings and did all those things. It just didn't work out. . . . We took a shot in hoping that he could be the guy. I don't think it's the first time in this league nor will it be the last time you were wrong on somebody. . . . It's unfortunate. I'm disappointed it didn't work out."
Couch, 27, keeps the $625,000 signing bonus that was part of his contract with the Packers but the club does not have to pay his $625,000 salary for the season. Couch and his representatives were hopeful that another team would pick him up soon.
Couch knew that he was in jeopardy of being cut, telling reporters after Friday's final preseason game at Tennessee: "I haven't been healthy enough to really do what I can do at this point."
The Packers signed Couch hoping that he would be Favre's primary backup and perhaps eventual successor. But he missed practice time because of his ailing arm and completed only 11 of 34 passes in his three preseason games. He was the starter for most of his five seasons in Cleveland but threw more interceptions (67) than touchdown passes (64) and eventually lost the job to journeyman Kelly Holcomb, then became expendable when the Browns signed free agent Jeff Garcia in March to be their starter.
McBrien, a left-hander, was a starter at Maryland the past two seasons and led the Terrapins to two straight bowl victories.
* EAGLES: Dorsey Levens, 34, was signed two weeks ago after Philadelphia lost running back Correll Buckhalter to a season-ending knee injury. Levens ran for 37 yards on 12 carries in his only game against the New York Jets.
* DOLPHINS: Antonio Freeman joined Miami this summer after David Boston was lost for the season.
* CHIEFS: Kansas City released 44-year-old Morten Andersen, the No. 2 scorer in NFL history, who was beaten out by Lawrence Tynes, who starred the past two seasons in the Canadian Football League.
* SAINTS: New Orleans cut 15-year veteran center Jerry Fontenot, who lost his position to LeCharles Bentley, who moved over from guard. Fontenot, 37, started all 80 games the past five seasons and was selected as a Pro Bowl alternate last season.
"I certainly hold my head high, knowing that I did everything the coaches asked of me and everything the organization asked of me," Fontenot said. "I feel very blessed in my career."
The Saints also let go of linebacker Darrin Smith, who was with them since 2000.
* CHARGERS: San Diego cut wide receiver Kevin Dyson, a member of the Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers when each played in the Super Bowl, and safety Kwamie Lassiter. Lassiter, a nine-year pro, started for the Chargers last year.
The Chargers kept four quarterbacks: projected starter Drew Brees, first-round draft choice Philip Rivers, veteran Doug Flutie, and Cleo Lemon.
* BEARS: Bryan Robinson, who had been with Chicago since 1998, was cut. Robinson played both defensive end and tackle in 100 games, with 82 starts.
* SEAHAWKS: Seattle announced that second-year tackle Wayne Hunter has been suspended one game by the NFL for violation of the league's personal conduct policy. Hunter was involved in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend last summer.
* PATRIOTS: New England cut veteran cornerback Terrell Buckley, 33, who played 31 games with the Patriots in the 2001 and 2002 seasons, winning one Super Bowl. He spent last season with the Dolphins.
* FALCONS: Tackle Bob Whitfield's 12-year career with Atlanta also ended when he was released. He was tied for the fourth-longest career in Falcons history.
* BILLS: Buffalo released linebacker Jason Gildon and placed quarterback Travis Brown on injured reserve, meaning he will miss his second consecutive season. Gildon, who holds the Pittsburgh Steelers' record with 77 sacks, was cut six weeks after the Bills signed the 10-year veteran to bolster their pass rush.
* TITANS: Jarrett Payton, the son of the late Walter Payton who was a former teammate of Titans Coach Jeff Fisher in Chicago, was cut by Tennessee. Fisher said Payton knew the situation from the start.
"He was going to be given an opportunity to get better . . . to be evaluated. That's what we did. We kept our commitment to him," Fisher said.