The message is delivered. In front of 42 coaches and scouts representing 19 teams, Couch throws until he's drenched in sweat. He tries too hard. Seven balls flutter. His accuracy, though, is good, as is his deep throwing. "I think I proved I'm worthy of the top pick," Couch says afterward.
Well, maybe. Palmer tells the press he likes what he saw. Deep down, though, he and Clark wish Couch had been more impressive. Palmer leaves Lexington thinking, I need to see him again. I need to run the workout. And I hope he's better that day.
MARCH 24: COLUMBUS, OHIO
Policy and lerner, invited to the Ohio statehouse to be formally thanked for bringing back the Browns, walk into the 138-year-old mahogany-paneled building. In the rotunda, the lawmakers woof and growl.
"Our legislators are barking at us," Policy says to Lerner.
"My opinion of politicians has just gone up," Lerner says.
MARCH 24: BEREA
On the night of the first minicamp meeting, when Palmer speaks to his veteran players for the first time together, he sounds like Parcells. "Coaches are the most selfish people in the world," says Palmer, standing at a podium. "All they want to do is win. If the front office gave you $7 million to sign, that's their problem. If you aren't the best guy, you aren't playing."
Palmer tells his players they will have the best of everything. They will get an 800 number to put on their key chains, and five security officers will staff that phone line around the clock and address any problems. To give players flexibility in their off-season schedules, strength coach Tim Jorgensen will begin workouts at 7:30 a.m., 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. A nutritionist, a holistic-medicine practitioner, a martial-arts coach and a speed coach will be on call. Coaches will have open office hours for an hour in the morning and 90 minutes in the afternoon; no subject will be off-limits. A game room will include a 72-inch TV, dominoes, checkers and chess. "And Scrabble," Palmer says, "for the Stanford guys."
"Understand one thing," he adds. "All we want is excellence in everything we do."