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.