Free agent linebacker visits

Linebacker Anthony Simmons visited Green Bay early in the week but left without a deal, according to reports. He played just below Pro Bowl level for the last five seasons in Seattle.<p>

The Packers are seeking a starting-caliber linebacker. Outside linebacker Hannibal Navies is an unrestricted free agent, but the Packers have shown no signs of re-signing him this off-season.

Although Simmons did start at middle linebacker in 1999, he has played the weak-side ever since. If the Packers renewed their interest in Simmons, it's possible they'd play him on the weak side and move Na'il Diggs back to the strong side, where Navies started. He visited with the New Orleans Saints before flying to Green Bay.

Simmons, 28, underwent season-ending wrist surgery in November. He also missed two games in October because of shoulder surgery. He also missed nine starts in 2002 because of a high ankle sprain and two games in '03 with a neck injury.

In addition, Simmons sat out another game in '03 when coach Mike Holmgren suspended him for insubordination after a verbal altercation at practice with linebackers coach John Marshall. In a subsequent interview, Simmons blew it off.

Unable to trade Simmons, the linebacker-poor Seahawks went ahead and cut him March 4 shortly before he was due a $500,000 roster bonus. That voided the final three years of a five-year, $23.5 million contract that Simmons signed on the eve of free agency in February 2003. The deal contained a whopping $8.5 million signing bonus.

Simmons started four games as a rookie after arriving in Seattle as the 15th selection in 1998 following a three-year career at Clemson. He ran 40 yards in 4.55 seconds, scored 30 on the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test and tested exceptionally well as an athlete.

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