Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ex-Seminole great Simmons savors homecoming

Ron Simmons, who attended Saturday’s game as part of homecoming festivities, said he is proud to have played a role in bringing Florida State’s program to national prominence.

Times file

Ron Simmons, who attended Saturday’s game as part of homecoming festivities, said he is proud to have played a role in bringing Florida State’s program to national prominence.

TALLAHASSEE — Former Florida State All-American nose guard Ron Simmons doesn't get back for games often.

His schedule as a professional wrestler for years and now his duties marketing and training the next generation of WWE stars just doesn't give him much down time.

"Even when I wasn't there in person, I was always there in spirit," he said. "I'd watch on TV and wish I had my jersey on and I was 20 years old again."

Make no mistake. Simmons, 50, the first big-time prospect brought to FSU by Bobby Bowden in 1977, has a passion for his alma mater and was thrilled to be on campus for the homecoming parade on Friday then be an honorary captain for Saturday's game against Boston College.

"I go back to when I was recruited and everybody (in Georgia) thought I was an idiot and out of my mind to go to Florida State," he said. "We were on everybody's list for homecoming. Just to see how it's evolved and to have been a part of it from the ground up — a small part of it — it really makes me feel good to know that I had something to do with where the school is now."

Simmons helped lead the Seminoles to Orange Bowl appearances as a junior and senior (1979 and '80), putting the program on the college football map. He played briefly for the Browns and Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL before going into wrestling. FSU retired his number, 50, and he was recently elected to the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame.

And making it to Tallahassee on Saturday allowed him to come "full circle." He was at midfield for the coin toss and drew a warm welcome from the fans at Doak Campbell Stadium.

"I can't tell you how much of an honor and how flattering it is for me to go back, to be worthy of coming back and for them to make notice of it," he said. "I'm just humbled by it. I'm just so grateful."

More chances: Junior WR Rod Owens saw his number called more often as a result of FSU suspending five receivers for the game. In the opening half, he had two catches for 44 yards and had a rush, his first of the season, for 13 yards. His most productive game this year came in the opener against I-AA Western Carolina, when he had four catches for 61 yards.

Third-down dominance?: FSU entered the game with the nation's best defense on third down, holding teams to an 18 percent conversion rate (21-of-116). But in the first half, Boston College succeeded on 66.7 percent (6-of-9).

Gano-matic … for a while: FSU senior K Graham Gano hit a 39-yard field goal in the final minute of the first half to extend his school-record streak to 18 straight. He missed from 50 yards, however, in the opening minutes of the third quarter.

Homecoming crowd: The announced attendance for homecoming was 79,792, the second largest of the season but still about 2,500 less than capacity at Doak Campbell Stadium.

More famous visitors: Joining Simmons as an honorary captain was former CB Mario Edwards, who helped FSU reach the inaugural Bowl Championship Series title game against Tennessee in 1998 and win the 1999 national title. He played for the Cowboys and Bucs before retiring in 2005. Fans also might have spotted 2000 Heisman Trophy QB Chris Weinke on the FSU sideline.

Ex-Seminole great Simmons savors homecoming 11/15/08 [Last modified: Saturday, November 15, 2008 11:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. For starters: Rays at Twins, with Cobb pitching with a purpose

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 12:34: Cash said he has been pleased with Sucre's work and is trying to find playing time for him. ... Cash also said after reading Farquhar's comments about having trouble re-focusing after getting out of a jam and then going back out for a second inning he will factor that in to how he uses him. ... …

  2. St. Petersburg's Sebastien Bourdais vows to return for IndyCar finale

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Sebastien Bourdais was in one of the best race cars he'd ever had, so fast that most of his competitors thought he would win the pole for the Indianapolis 500.

    Sebastien Bourdais does physical therapy at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana in Indianapolis. Bourdais broke his pelvis, hip and two ribs in an accident during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 on May 20. He plans to return home to St. Petersburg soon to continue therapy. [Associated Press]
  3. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  4. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title

    Baseballpreps

    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  5. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”