With the age of the Internet, news tends to travel quickly these days.
That was the case on Monday afternoon when Bucs general manager Bruce Allen discredited a St. Petersburg Times Internet report regarding the health of quarterback Chris Simms just hours after it was published on the newspaper’s website.
The Times’ report stated that Simms had a sore throwing shoulder, has been taking anti-inflammatories and other medication to practice on the field just 10 months after the quarterback ruptured his spleen and underwent emergency surgery after a Week 3 contest vs. Carolina.
The report went on to say that Simms is suffering from proprioception, a kinesthetic sixth sense that allows you to know the position of your arms and legs in relation to your body.
Allen addressed the media from Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex during what was supposed to be a special teams practice, but it was rained out.
When asked about the Times’ report and Simms’ health, particularly his alleged shoulder soreness and health condition, Allen quickly refuted it.
“I saw the report and the headline, and that’s inaccurate … The reports today were completely inaccurate.
“Chris, as all quarterbacks who go through training camp, deal with different sorenesses. We have some defensive linemen who have sore elbows and sore shoulders from the pounding, but nothing unusual.”
The Times claimed that Simms, who has struggled in camp, did not take a single rep during full team drills on Sunday or Monday.
But Allen said that wasn’t true. Pewter Report has been on hand for Tampa Bay’s training camp practices and can attest to the fact that Simms did take reps in full team drills during those practices.
“He practiced today,” said Allen. “I know the report said he didn’t practice yesterday and today, but today he practiced.”
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden has been changing up the rep distribution at several positions, including quarterback, since training camp began on July 27.
Although QB Luke McCown has seen increased reps over the past several practices, Allen suggested Simms was taking his fair share of reps in camp.
“We have charted from day one the number of throws and going into yesterday Chris was five or six behind Jeff Garcia,” said Allen. “I would think we’ll get the report tonight he’ll probably be second on the team in the number of throws, and the difference is probably small.”
Simms, 26, has admitted that he has had trouble with his throwing form and mechanics since he was allowed to start throwing the football again back in December.
In December, the Bucs signed Simms, whose contract was set to expire in March, to a two-year contract extension that included a $3 million signing bonus.
With Simms tossing just one touchdown and seven interceptions in three games before suffering the spleen injury, and the recovery time associated with a spleen injury being a relative unknown for an NFL player, the Bucs chose to upgrade the quarterback position in March by signing Garcia and trading for QB Jake Plummer.
Plummer refused to report to training camp, citing he is retired from the NFL. Garcia, however, has established himself as the Bucs’ starting signal caller.
In the meantime, Simms is struggling, but healthy enough to compete with Bruce Gradkowski and Luke McCown for the right to back up Garcia and/or earn a 53-man roster spot.
“Does Chris feel like he’s at his “A” game right now? Probably not,” Allen said. “He missed a lot of time last year with his injury and he’s been working very hard this offseason. He wants to get back into rhythm. There’s no doubt about that, and he will work to get there.
“His health is not an issue.”
With Simms’ health being deemed a non-issue by the organization, the Bucs do not have the option to place him on the Physically Unable to Perform list or injured reserve, contrary to the Times’ report.
“You have to take a preseason physical the day training camp starts,” said Allen. “Failing that physical is the only time you could put someone on PUP.
“That’s not an option [in Simms’ situation].”
Simms was not immediately available for comment.
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