Simms admits to nerves on cut day

Chris Simms spoke to the media for the first time since he dodged the final roster cut on Sept. 1, discussing his nerves on cut day, his continued progress toward being game-ready and his desire to remain a Buccaneer.

Chris Simms said he didn't mind talking after finishing his post-practice workout on Thursday.

But he wondered aloud why anyone wanted to talk to him.

"I'm not doing a thing right now," Simms said.

Simms spoke for the first time since dodging the final roster cuts on Sept. 1. Since then he's been conspicuously absent in the locker room during times when it's open to the media. After practice every day Simms works on the same throws with practice squad receivers, all in an effort to get back to the quarterback he was before losing his spleen a year ago Sept. 25.

He's making progress.

"Am I where I'm supposed to be yet?" Simms said. "No. But I continue to progress upwards and that's what I'm happy with."

Simms was the subject of speculation in the days leading up to the final roster cuts after a training camp and preseason filled with the kind of drama Simms and the organization could do without. Simms missed five days of 11-on-11 work due to a sore elbow that was first reported as a bout with proprioception, a disease that causes a disconnect between the mind and the body.

Simms said on Thursday that his elbow is fine now.

" Ever since then I've worked hard on my mechanics as far as just making sure they were right so I didn't have any more problems with that," Simms said. "Because you get a sore elbow that can lead to a whole other agenda. I had to be careful there."

Thanks to the increased emphasis on mechanics, Simms said his overall body control is much better and he's closer to getting his entire body into throws, as opposed to just using his arm. Simms said he's also benefited from a more aggressive rehab approach during the past month.

But none of that sped up his recovery in the preseason. He saw just one possession against Miami, throwing one short pass that fell incomplete. He missed the Houston game due to a hip issue, he said.

Simms' spot on the roster became the hottest issue as the final cuts approached. Would the Bucs keep four quarterbacks? Even Simms admitted to some trepidation as cut day approached.

"Yeah I was nervous," Simms said. "I can't lie. At the same time I know the sport and when that Saturday came around I was nervous. My wife was probably more nervous. She had just decorated the house and she didn't want to do that again."

The Bucs made the unusual decision to keep four quarterbacks. Simms said he thinks the mandate from team management is clear.

"(General manager) Bruce Allen was upfront with me the whole time and (I think) he was showing that ‘Hey, we trust that you're going to keep working to get better and we know it will come around," Simms said.

Simms wasn't asked to speculate on the rumors that the New York Giants are interested in the fifth-year pro to back up Eli Manning. The Giants are Simms' father's old team.

Simms did reinforce his desire to stay with one team, that team being Tampa Bay. Even after all he's been through, he has no desire to leave.

"Without a doubt," Simms said. "I love it here. I love the team, I love the organization, I love living here in Tampa. It's a huge sports town and the fans are great. I've always said from the start that I want to start somewhere and stay there my whole career. I've had that ambition."


Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association and has won national awards for his Buccaneers coverage from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is also a contributor to the Scot Brantley Show from 4-7 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1490-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.


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