Simms eager in opportunity with Titans

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 11:32am
Newly signed Chris Simms practices with the Titans on Wednesday. Mike Strasinger for The City Paper

Chris Simms is happy to be a Tennessee Titan and to simply be back on an active NFL roster.

The Titans officially added Simms to their 53-man roster in time for Wednesday’s practice, as he will back up Kerry Collins while Vince Young is out of action.

Simms has not appeared in a game since September 2006 since having his spleen removed that season after an on-field injury against Carolina.

He spent the rest of that season and all of 2007 on injured reserve before being released by the Buccaneers before the start of the season this year.

“It’s been close to two years really,” said Simms, the son of former New York Giants star Phil Simms. “So I’ve been extremely anxious just to get started again and get back in the swing of things. I like being at home with my wife and my baby girl, but at some point, I want to get up and get around the guys a little bit and play some football.”

The Titans agreed to terms with Simms sight unseen Tuesday evening on a one-year deal after spending that morning working out Joey Harrington, Doug Johnson and Quinn Gray and turning all three away without an offer.

Simms came to the Titans after having spent his Tuesday in Kansas City auditioning for the Chiefs before deciding that Tennessee was a better situation. He had been in New England on Monday after the Patriots lost Tom Brady, but did not work out for there when the club apparently changed its mind about pursuing him.

“I think first it was probably just a good situation as far as the quarterback position goes, and I was familiar with a few of the coaches and also with a lot of the guys on the team,” Simms said of Tennessee. “There are a lot of guys on the team that you are familiar with and you know people and you know you can trust them.”

Simms, who had been the Bucs starter prior to his injury, became buried in Tampa Bay as the club had Jeff Garcia, Brian Griese and Luke McCown on the roster. They also drafted Josh Johnson in the fifth-round of this year’s draft.

“It was a little unfortunate, but it’s part of the NFL. It was a tough situation,” Simms said of being stuck in Tampa Bay. “You try to make the best of it and do the best you can, and just hope for the best. I’m happy that I’m here, and I think it all worked out for the best.”

He also indicated that the spleen situation is not an issue, and that he takes an injection to help combat any complications.

“I’m completely healthy. That’s not an issue at all. I’ve just got to get used to practicing again and getting reps and all that,” he said.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher said the Titans were fortunate to find a player of Simms’ caliber as a street free agent.

“We feel he gives us the best chance to come in and learn the offense and pickup in the event that we have a problem,” Fisher said. “As he’ll probably tell you, he was leaning very heavily towards his opportunity in Kansas City and we’re very fortunate the timing worked out and he made the decision to come.”

ADVICE FROM OCHO: With Vince Young having issues dealing with the pressures of being and NFL quarterback and a high-profile athlete, Cincinnati Bengals star receiver Chad Johnson/Ocho Cinco, who was on conference call with the Tennessee media, weighed in on the situation with reporters.

Johnson was asked if there is added pressure for highly marketed athletes to perform on a weekly basis.

His reply: “Pressure? There’s no pressure in this. I love this. This is one of the reasons why I do so much talking and draw so much attention to myself, so it forces me to play at a high level. It’s not pressure. Pressure would be if Bush called all of us and told us we had to go to Iraq. Now that’s pressure, because we don’t know what in the world we’re supposed to do at war. But it comes to football, that’s something we’ve been doing since we were young. There’s no pressure to perform.”

Young appeared reluctant to return to the game Sunday against Jacksonville after throwing his second interception, and skipped a scheduled MRI on Monday after he suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee on Sunday.

Young was also in a down state of mind on Monday and was unaccounted for for approximately four hours while Metro Police and SWAT team members looked for him.

MORE ADVICE: Ocho Cinco also had some advice for Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan, whose game he said he respects greatly.

“[He should] open his mouth, just one time. Just say, ‘I’m going to shutdown whoever,’” Johnson said “Just say it. Out of a 16-week schedule, he can probably lock down everybody he plays. Seriously. I’m going off of what I see on film and he’s above average as a corner.”

Finnegan, however, declined, saying, “That’s not really my style.”

ISSUES?: With Simms being a left-handed quarterback, there may be some adjustment needed for center Kevin Mawae to snap the ball so he can grab it with the laces, except that Mawae said Simms holds his hands under center with his right hand on top like a right-handed quarterback.

“The rule of thumb is I’m older than he is, so he’s got to figure it out. It’s weird,” Mawae said. “He’s a left-handed quarterback, but he holds his hands like a right-handed quarterback. We’ll figure it out. He doesn’t put his hands under there like a lefty.”

INJURIES: Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was held out of practice because of the concussion he suffered in Sunday’s win over Jacksonville.

“He’s improving. You usually take a couple of extra days when you’re dealing with a concussion,” Fisher said.

Defensive end Jacob Ford was held out with a sternum injures and Quinton Ganther remains sidelined with a hamstring problem.

ROSTER MOVES: To officially add Simms to the roster, the Titans waived tight end Dwayne Blakley from the 53-man roster.

The Titans also added quarterback Preston Parsons to their practice squad to replace Ingle Martin.

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By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Ocho Cinco, I am glad that you cleared up the "clear" water. Vince Young is a has been. He should take his medicine just like Heath Shuler

By: OneTimer on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Ouch. Comparing anyone to Shuler is hitting below the belt.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

frank brown doesn't miss a chance to pounce on someone when they are down.

By: Jokapsig on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Chris, welcome to Nashville. We have big hearts here and we'll embrace you if you give it your all, which I'm sure you will. Good luck!Your Texas counterpart, on the other hand, is too thin skinned to be in the NFL and is way overpaid.

By: ycartrob on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I believe one thing Heath Shuler grasps, that some of you silly people can't, is that there is more to life than football. Or, in your cases, there is more to life than being a football fan. Heath Shuler is living an amazing life, serving mankind through politics.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

So ycartrob, you think because we are football fans, that is all we care about? Pretty narrow minded when you don't know any of us.

By: slacker on 12/31/69 at 7:00

''Serving mankind through politics'' LOL.. LOL again.

By: ycartrob on 12/31/69 at 7:00

titan1, I was referring to the one's giving Shuler and VY grief; it's just the tone which they refer to someone as a loser. I happen to be a huge football fan; I understand that it's an exception to play in the NFL, not the norm. I also know it's not the end of the world if someone cannot make it in the NFL. I'd say most people who rail on the likes of Shuler and VY are bitter b/c they never had a chance to play in the NFL and they are mad about something slse, but a pro athelete (or ex) is an easy target. I know most people here who say Shuler is a loser would never in a million years say that to his face, just out of decency or fear, or whatever. That's all.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

ycartrob, sorry I misunderstood you, and yes pro athletes are easy targets. That is why I am careful with my comments on VY or anyone who is trying but having some problems.

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I summer in the congressional district served by Heath Shuler. I would never tell him to his face that he was an NFL failure. He is all too aware of that without me telling him. He also used the money from his failure in the NFL to start a very successful real estate agency. I am not sure that Vince Young is ready for anything really intellectual but there are things that Vince Young is intellectual enough to do that will allow him to live quite well the rest of his life. I will give him a head start in accomplishing that. Never take advice from your childhood friends.