Q&A: Kendall Simmons

PITTSBURGH -- There aren't any stats to prove it, but Kendall Simmons might be the nicest football player in Pittsburgh. But don't challenge Simmons, as fellow questioner John Steigerwald did with yours truly one day during spring practice.


Are you growing more confident in the knee you injured last year?

Yeah. It's getting better. In fact, I'm not really worried about my knee anymore because it's getting better each week. I just feel like now I've kinda knocked some of the rust off. I'll really be able to tell once we throw the pads on, but I feel better each week.

Isn't this mostly mental time anyway?

You know what? I know the plays. To me, it's physical time. Mental time I'm not really worried about. And I'm building some chemistry with Max (Starks) over there on that side. It makes a difference. Other than that, I'm just trying to get my leg right. I know what I'm doing. I'm not worried about that part of it.

Did you miss football last season?

You take it for granted when you're playing. When you miss a whole year, then you kind of realize what you had. I'm just happy to be back out here, really.

Does something like that make you hungrier?

Yeah it does. I kind of feel like a rookie again, but I know what I'm doing. You kind of feel like you have a little something to prove, but I think everybody out here knows what I can do. I'm just trying to re-prove it to myself, not them. I just want the feeling that I know I'm back where I was. I ain't there yet, but hopefully by the end of training camp I'll be my old self.

Are you in the best shape since you've been here?

Physically, strength-wise, yeah; conditioning-wise, no. That's why I'm out here getting some extra conditioning after every practice. I haven't been able to run as much, just to try to keep some of the pressure off the leg. I'm doing a lot of pool work and stuff. It'll come with time.

Isn't the goal to get to where you're not even thinking about your knee?

I'm getting to that point. Dr. (Jim) Bradley said it's as strong as it's going to get. It's the muscles around it that need to be stronger. I've just got to move and get used to the movement and not worry about it. The whole mini-camp I was worried about it, worried about it, but now I've gotten comfortable to the point where I can move. Every now and then it'll wiggle a little bit, just because it's not as strong as it needs to be, but other than that it's there.

Are you getting anxious to hit somebody?

Oh yeah. I need a little contact. Not having no pads on right now, that ain't helping me none, so I need somebody to slap me good one time.

Jim, why don't you give him a good slap?

You're going to get another one back if you do that. I'm looking for a little contact. Other than that though, man, I'm ready to get started.

Do you hate working with shells instead of pads?

Yeah. Most linemen do. The little guys like to keep as much off as possible so they can run around. But up front it's almost like we're going full speed anyway. You just ain't got nothing to protect you. We kind of know how to protect each other out here, go a couple steps and let off a little bit, but other than that it ain't the same as having a little pad-cracking every now and then.

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