The expectation for Bucs head coach Jon Gruden was to see more of quarterback Chris Simms in the last preseason game against the Houston Texans on Thursday night. However, Simms didn’t see one snap for the Bucs after he and general manager Bruce Allen scratched the signal caller from the lineup with an apparent hip injury.
Simms has been battling back from his spleen injury, but has struggled during the preseason with his throwing form and mechanics. Gruden was unaware of the injury and wasn’t in the mood to take any questions about it following the 31-24 victory over the Texans. Gruden was only worried about the players that were on the field, namely quarterbacks Luke McCown and Bruce Gradkowski.
“You can ask Chris. He’s available for interviews,” Gruden said. “I have no idea what this is or what occurred. He scratched himself from the game – Bruce Allen and the trainers and Chris Simms can answer those questions. I was eager to see him play, I’m eager even more. Obviously that’s a disappointment but you’ve got to like what Luke McCown did. That’s the story line right here – [he and Bruce Gradkowski]. I’m tired of talking about the injuries to Chris. It’s unfortunate but somebody you’ve got to give credit to those young guys – they did well.”
Simms has been rumored to be in line as one of the final roster cuts that will be decided on Saturday and even in some trade demands. Other reports indicate that the Bucs might even entertain the idea of keeping four quarterbacks, but Gruden hasn’t shown his hand with the quarterback position.
One possibility for the Bucs with the recent injury is to put Simms on injured reserve, which allows Tampa Bay an extra roster spot and allows Simms to keep working on his mechanics. That’s a decision that could come down in the next couple of days, but isn’t a definite.
If Simms is one of the final roster cuts and never takes another snap for the Bucs, his lasting image will be a 5-yard comeback route that tight end Keith Heinrich couldn’t hold onto as the ball fell softly to the ground. Not quite the exit that Simms or many Bucs fans envisioned for the third-round pick out of the University of Texas.
Simms right now is only worried about things he can control and being cut isn’t one of them. One thing Simms could control was his loyalty to the Bucs and that is something that he feels strongly about.
“Loyalty is – just I guess, not ‘usable’ this day in age in football," said Simms. "It’s ‘what have you done for me lately?’ I realized that, like I was saying before. I’m not really worried about it. Like I said, I want to be here, but there’s things I can control and things I can’t control – and this isn’t one of them.”
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