Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

QB Chris Simms healthy and ready to impress other teams in Bucs' preseason opener

The last time quarterback Chris Simms scanned the defense in an NFL game, he wasn't worried about locating the opposing safety. He was worried about his own safety.

Simms, whose recovery from a splenectomy 10 months earlier left him unable to throw accurately, participated in six plays against the Dolphins in last summer's third preseason game.

He threw a short pass over the middle to tight end Keith Heinrich, who dropped it. Two plays later, he scrambled forward for a yard before being flagged for an illegal forward pass, forcing the Bucs to punt. His final passing stat: 0-for-1.

"I can't even say what I was thinking," he says now of that outing. "Certain pass plays I knew I was in trouble, because I knew I wasn't capable of throwing a 20-yard out if Coach (Jon) Gruden called that play last year. I wasn't able to manage it. I was thinking of ways I was going to survive the game and at least move the team down the field, somehow, some way."

Simms did not play again and was placed on injured reserve several weeks later, his five-year career in jeopardy.

Tonight, a healthy Simms is expected to enter the preseason opener at Miami sometime in the second half. He is one of five quarterbacks on the roster and has no illusions of still being with the Bucs after Labor Day.

Instead, his task is to catch the eye of 31 other teams.

"I think it is another step, but for some reason, I'm not really as nervous for that as I was the first two days of practice," Simms said. "I feel like I've got my feet under me, and I've definitely got my confidence back. My timing and rhythm are back. So I feel this will be easier.

"I'm sure I'll be nervous. But I think I'm more excited than anything right now."

Simms, 27, says he won't be focused on trying to impress the rest of the league.

"I can't think about it that way, or I lose track of what's really going to go down,'' he said. ''I'm just going to focus on my part and however many drives I get, just make the best of it."

That's what he has been doing in training camp. He skipped the offseason workouts, trying to force his trade or release, and claimed his relationship with Gruden couldn't be fixed.

But he is getting enough reps to knock some of the rust off.

"That was the best thing for me," Simms said. "I got to do the two-minute drill at the end of practice. … Even doing the scout team stuff. Just getting out there and throwing."

The team's current plan is to keep four quarterbacks on the active roster, including rookie Josh Johnson. And Simms isn't likely to be among them.

Still, his confidence is growing every day. Tonight is another big step.

"Back in the day, I would've dropped back and hit that third step and said, 'He's about to be open, I'm going to fire it through the hole,' " Simms said. "I'm getting more and more like that."

For depth charts and starting lineups, go to

QB Chris Simms healthy and ready to impress other teams in Bucs' preseason opener 08/08/08 [Last modified: Monday, August 11, 2008 4:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Luke Del Rio regains UF starting job, for now


    GAINESVILLE — Luke Del Rio is once again the starting quarterback for No. 21 Florida.

    Luke Del Rio provided a needed spark when he replaced starter Feleipe Franks and rallied Florida past Kentucky.
  2. Four questions the Lightning still has to answer

    Lightning Strikes

    FORT LAUDERDALE — The Lightning made its biggest round of cuts Monday, with some of the big-named prospects heading out.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (91) looks on from the bench during a shift change at Lightning hockey training camp in Brandon on Monday (09/18/17). In background on right is Nikita Kucherov (86). DIRK SHADD   |   Times  

  3. Nine Florida football players, 62 felony complaints in fraud scandal


    GAINESVILLE — The fraud scandal that has engulfed the University of Florida's nationally ranked football team for weeks exploded Monday with the first detailed accounts of criminal accusations that threaten to derail the Gators' season.

    Florida Gators wide receiver Antonio Callaway (81) runs the ball during the Outback Bowl in January at Raymond James Stadium. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  4. Where Rays shortstop Matt Duffy's lost season leads

    The Heater

    BRADENTON — In a perfect world Matt Duffy would have been in New York on Monday with his Rays teammates enjoying the final off day of the year. Instead, he was on Field 4 at Pirate City on a sweltering afternoon, trying to restart his season.

    Rays shortstop Matt Duffy plays in his first game (since rehab was aborted) with the club's instructional league on Monday at the Pirate City baseball field and spring training complex in Bradenton [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  5. Vinny Lecavalier's jersey retirement will be another classic Vinny moment

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — He was the face of the franchise. He was taken first overall in the 1998 NHL Draft by a franchise at the bottom. Art Williams, the nutty Tampa Bay Lightning owner at the time, proclaimed the 18-year-old from Ile Bizard, a Montreal borough, "the Michael Jordan of hockey."

    Vincent Lecavalier makes a break for the net while playing an exhibition game on Sunday (9/24/17) with the 2017 U.S. Women???‚??„?s National Team at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Lecavalier was the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the 2000???‚??€œ2001 season and between the 2008???‚??€œ2013 and spent his first 14 NHL seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning before signing with the Philadelphia Flyers.