Fifth-year quarterback Chris Simms met with the media for the first time on Tuesday since an Internet story from the St. Petersburg Times stated that Simms was showing symptoms of proprioception. Proprioception is a kinesthetic sixth sense that allows you to know the position of your arms and legs in relation to your body.

Less than 24 hours after Bucs general manager Bruce Allen deemed the Times’ report completely inaccurate, Simms joined Allen and head coach Jon Gruden in stating that he is healthy and not suffering from proprioception.

Simms, who underwent a splenectomy in September of 2006 and wasn’t able to start throwing a football again until December, freely admits that he isn’t where he wants to be, but that there are no issues with his health or any damage to his elbow.

“I don’t think it’s anything like that [nerve damage],” said Simms. “I think I’m not quite where I need to be and I’ve told you guys that and right now I’m just trying to work and get where I was last year before the injury and I’m just not quite there yet.”

Simms is experiencing some soreness in his left arm and was held out of 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 passing drills during Tuesday morning’s practice. Simms, however, is expected to be at practice on Wednesday and will get reps with the offense.

“He has a sore elbow, and we hope to have him on the field throwing tomorrow,” Gruden said. “That’s all I can say. I don’t read all the stories – no disrespect to anyone. But Chris Simms is cleared to play, and we’re going to try him on the field again tomorrow.”

Gruden has become increasingly irritated with the constant questions about Simms’ health after every practice. However, Gruden has dealt with quarterbacks, namely Brad Johnson and Brian Griese, who have experienced soreness in their arms during training camp and understands that this is just part of the game.

Gruden on Tuesday admitted that he is surprised with the amount of coverage on Simms’ sore elbow.

“Yes, I am because we’ve got a lot of good things happening here,” Gruden said. “If you’ve watched practice, you’ve seen [Jeff] Garcia really does a heck of a job. He’s got a little bit of a twinge in his hamstring. God knows, that might be on the USA Today tomorrow – I don’t know. I’m concerned with that a little bit. You’re going to get guys at that position that do have soreness in their elbow. I went through that every year with Brad Johnson and Griese. Unfortunately, it’s happened early in camp. I don’t want to speculate; I’m not a doctor. I don’t think anybody in the media is a doctor. I just think that we respect the situation with the facts that we have. Chris will be back hopefully in a limited fashion tomorrow, and he’ll be a more focal part of the practices once his elbow returns to full health.”

Simms was never diagnosed with proprioception by any of the medical staff with the Bucs or the head trainer, Todd Toriscelli. He wasn’t even aware of what the term meant until he read the St. Petersburg Times Internet story. Simms 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.

Simms has seemed to experience the same struggles in training camp that he had in the OTAs and mini-camp during the offseason. Even though the soreness in his left arm is unusual for Simms, he was quick to shoot down any thoughts that this will be a lingering problem for him.

“Yes my arm is little sore, but it’s nothing like crazy sore,” Simms said. “I’m not going to say that it’s anything that, I’ve never been the one to have a sore arm in the first place, but it’s a little sore but nothing that I’m worried about. But again don’t make a big deal out of it because it’s not a big deal. It’s not like, it’s nothing that’s going to hurt my career or hurt me in camp. I’m okay, it’s going to be fine.”

Whether Simms is dealing with soreness or is just struggling with his mechanics, one thing is certain — Simms will have to get back onto the field and compete with Garcia, Bruce Gradkowski and Luke McCown if he is going to earn a 53-man roster spot this season.

“I don’t feel that badly, I feel, physically, like I can take a hit and run,” Simms said. “I guess you can just say I’m rusty. I just don’t feel like I’m clicking on all cylinders.”


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