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Kurt Warner on ’99 expansion draft: It would have been fun to win Super Bowl in Cleveland

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In 1999, the Browns used the 29th spot in the expansion draft on Scott Milanovich of the Buccaneers and then selected Tim Couch No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft. Milanovich never threw a pass for the Browns, and Couch lasted only five seasons, going 22-37 with 64 touchdowns and 67 interceptions.

The Browns have had 26 other starting quarterbacks besides Couch, yet to find a franchise signal caller.

But the Browns could have had that guy in 1999 when the Rams left Kurt Warner unprotected in the expansion draft. Warner, of course, was a nobody then, having thrown only 11 career passes.

Warner said Thursday nothing would have changed for him, except the team he played for, but the Browns would have won a Super Bowl with him if they had foresight.

“Had I gone to Cleveland, how would my career be different? I have no idea,” Warner said on a Pro Football Hall of Fame conference call. “It would have been fun to win a Super Bowl in Cleveland, though. But I think when you’re going through the process, and you get to this point I always felt like wherever I was, I would be successful. A lot of people I think when they see my career, they hear or they remember sat on the bench for four years in college, got cut by the Packers, worked in a grocery store and then won the Super Bowl. That’s kind of the timeline that people see when they hear Kurt Warner. When I look at the timeline, I look at it and say, ‘Played one year in college, was player of the year in my conference, I played three years in Arena Football, went to the Arena Bowl twice and was voted the best quarterback in the league all three seasons, went to Europe for a year and was the top quarterback statistically the season I played there. So I look at it and say every time I played I was successful. Everybody else looks at it and says he didn’t play very much. So there were two different perspectives on it.

“So had I gone to Cleveland, I would have expected nothing else except to have success, somehow, someway, some form. Had I been on the field, I would have expected to play well and have success. . . . I believe had I gone there and had a chance to play, I would have helped that franchise go to places they’ve never been before. Whether it’s arrogance or confidence or whatever you want to call it, that was my mentality when I stepped between the lines on a football field that I was going to make my team and somehow, someway, I was going to find a way to succeed.”

Things worked out just fine for Warner. Trent Green got hurt; Warner got his chance and won a Super Bowl for the Rams, and he enters the Hall of Fame in the Class of 2017. Meanwhile, the Browns’ search for a quarterback continues.

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17 Responses to “Kurt Warner on ’99 expansion draft: It would have been fun to win Super Bowl in Cleveland”
  1. bronfieldmann says: Jul 13, 2017 4:09 PM

    It is remarkable of Couch to have completed 64 touchdowns on just 22 completions.

  2. vicksdawgpound says: Jul 13, 2017 4:20 PM

    that was his record as Browns QB doofus

  3. dolfan72 says: Jul 13, 2017 4:22 PM

    Warner would have won a Super Bowl in Cleveland?

  4. bjwbrown2011 says: Jul 13, 2017 4:33 PM

    There are some guys that needed to be in a certain place at a certain time to achieve their greatness.

    I don’t think Warner becomes a HOF if he isn’t in St. Louis in 99. Likewise the Rams needed Warner in 99.

    For players who were far more likely to get cut then start (let alone win a superbowl) it doesn’t make too much sense to think about how good they would have been on a different team.

    It’s like asking what would have happened if Tom Brady became a Brown in 2000, most likely he doesn’t become Tom Brady.

  5. RandyinRoxbury says: Jul 13, 2017 4:45 PM

    The mighty Lord above could not win a SB in Cleveland.

  6. Slow Joe (Bucs fan) says: Jul 13, 2017 4:49 PM

    It’s fun to think about, but there’s never going to be a way we can actually know. Warner certainly had the correct attitude for success, though.

  7. priscillapolicar says: Jul 13, 2017 4:52 PM

    Awesome moment

  8. raidernation37 says: Jul 13, 2017 4:54 PM

    I always thought Tim Couch would have done very well had he gone anywhere other than Cleveland. That guy probably still has nightmares of getting crushed behind that o-line

  9. jimbobcooterqbtutor says: Jul 13, 2017 4:56 PM

    Even if he shined in practice and the preseason the Browns still would have never let him see the field (Not over Couchs’ mangled up body). It takes a lot of courage, conviction, and talent for someone to start a 6th round pick (Brady) with no experience over a former first round pick (Bledsoe), who is a star.

  10. aarons444 says: Jul 13, 2017 5:02 PM

    He certainly wouldn’t have been a HOFr without Faulk, Bruce and Holt

  11. stairwayto7 says: Jul 13, 2017 5:21 PM

    Warner was a domed QB! Cards and Rams. Look at Packers and Giants. Plus playing Pitt and Balt def 4 times a year, he would have never made it injury free.

  12. LakefrontLegend says: Jul 13, 2017 5:40 PM

    Couch got the Browns to the playoffs in 2002, though was injured in the season finale and could not play in the actual playoff game. I’ll say it again, in his 3rd season, with abysmal teammates, Couch took the Browns to the playoffs.

    Was his career all-time great? Of course not. But this idea that Couch never did anything in Cleveland is just false.

  13. James says: Jul 14, 2017 7:17 AM

    jimbobcooterqbtutor says:
    Jul 13, 2017 4:56 PM
    Even if he shined in practice and the preseason the Browns still would have never let him see the field (Not over Couchs’ mangled up body). It takes a lot of courage, conviction, and talent for someone to start a 6th round pick (Brady) with no experience over a former first round pick (Bledsoe), who is a star.

    ________________________________________

    Another dumb Pats fan. Before you jumped on the bandwagon, Bledsoe was injured so they turned to Brady and he played well. That is how that worked out. Steve Young replacing Montana was more gutsy than Brady coming off the bench after an injury.

  14. kwjsb says: Jul 14, 2017 5:08 PM

    Kurt, The Browns still would of had no running game , you would have spent as much time on your back as Timmay, and Kevin Johnson would still run 7 yard patterns on 3rd and 8 then fall down.

  15. mrfrostyj says: Jul 14, 2017 7:33 PM

    The 1999-2002 Browns were a team that got better with time at a similar level as the Colts (also a bottom feeder team on the rise during that time). They were the last Browns team to make a playoff and should have won that game if it weren’t for their coaches ego trip in the middle of the game.

    Tim Couches record was a direct result of being on an expansion team that was barely a team it’s first two years in existence (where 80% of those losses come from). Once they had a few drafts under their belt they had more wins with Couch than with any other QB they would have until 2007. Then unfortunately the Browns owner died and his clueless son spent the next decade and a half making sure the team sucked by doing the opposite of everything his dad did to build a playoff team in order to build the dumpster fire we see today.

  16. murphyslaw40 says: Jul 15, 2017 5:05 AM

    Maybe if they signed Mike Martz and traded that #1 pick for Marshall Faulk.

    Maybe.

  17. jimbobcooterqbtutor says: Jul 15, 2017 2:54 PM

    James says:
    Jul 14, 2017 7:17 AM
    jimbobcooterqbtutor says:
    Jul 13, 2017 4:56 PM
    Even if he shined in practice and the preseason the Browns still would have never let him see the field (Not over Couchs’ mangled up body). It takes a lot of courage, conviction, and talent for someone to start a 6th round pick (Brady) with no experience over a former first round pick (Bledsoe), who is a star.

    ________________________________________

    Another dumb Pats fan. Before you jumped on the bandwagon, Bledsoe was injured so they turned to Brady and he played well. That is how that worked out. Steve Young replacing Montana was more gutsy than Brady coming off the bench after an injury.
    —————————————————————–

    Shows how much you know about the NFL. My name is Jim Bob Cooter QB Tutor. Do you know who that is? He’s the Lions OC. He was originally hired as the Qb coach.

    Although I admire Brady and Belichick for what they’ve done, I’m a long suffering Lions fan since the days of Billy Sims (google him).

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