NFL or UT? Who, including Simms, really knows?

What to make of all the fuss about <B>Chris Simms'</B> comments to the Associated Press yesterday? Well, in my opinion, not much.

Questioned by an AP reporter on the comments he made earlier this year about it being "ludicrous" that he would leave college early for the NFL, Simms after Tuesday's UT practice said, "I think it would be stupid for me not to listen to a few opinions here and there and hear what people have to say. I'm not saying I'm going to come out, or anything like that, but I'm definitely going to listen to what people say."

The junior QB later Tuesday night, when contacted by the Austin American-Statesman, issued what you might call a clarification of his earlier comments. "I'm going to be back next year," Simms said. "I have no intentions of going to the NFL next year." The QB, though, said he plans to hear what the NFL committee that advises underclassmen says about his pro prospects. "I can use what they say as a learning tool," Simms told the Statesman.

So have things really changed that much since the summer when Simms called the idea "ludicrous"? Yes and no.

Yes, in that the Texas QB has had a strong, and over the last five weeks, spectacular year. No, in that Simms' "ludicrous" pronouncement came at a time when he would have looked foolish saying anything other than that. At the time, he probably had the same intentions he had now (but only if he had a successful season -- this wouldn't be an issue if Major Applewhite had won the starting job), he just knew better than to express them.

And who can blame the kid for wanting to explore his professional options? If nothing else, I'd hope his UT education to this point would have taught him to do just that. If the Houston Texans, whose executives and scouts have been fixtures at UT games and practices since last spring, or any other pro team want to build a franchise around Simms, he'd be crazy not to consider it.

What about the timing of his statement? Not good, and a media savvy guy like Simms probably should have said, when pressed by the AP reporter (Simms didn't just offer up his thoughts on this, ya know), that all he's thinking about right now is beating A&M and that there would be plenty of time to think about next year once this season is over, but that response would have been played up as well, with the headline being 'Simms evades answering NFL question'.

Right now, I guarantee Simms is thinking primarily about beating A&M and not about turning pro. His answers to the AP reporter's questions seem to be an honest assessment, though, of his intentions come January, after the Horns wrap up their season. And those intentions seem to be, evaluate and decide. Until then, everything else is simply speculation, even on his part. So until then, take it for what it's worth: just words. And from summer till Tuesday night, and then from Tuesday night till, well, later Tuesday night, we've already seen how quickly those can change.

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