Simms, Nece Among Those Not Making The Cut
By Roy Cummings | Tribune StaffTAMPA - What Chris Simms wanted more than anything was to spend his entire career playing for the Bucs.
Published: August 31, 2008
Published: August 31, 2008
Now that it's clear he won't - the result of his much-anticipated release Saturday - Simms is hoping he one day will return to Tampa and at least finish his career with the Bucs.
"It's a crazy league," Simms said. "Who's to say I won't be back here maybe in a few years. Warrick Dunn did it. You never know."
Simms knew long before Saturday he would probably be cut. Linebacker Ryan Nece had an inkling he was going to be let go, too. Consequently, the Bucs surprised few with the moves they made to reduce their roster to 53 players.
Other notables let go included former Chamberlain High wide receiver Brian Clark, defensive tackle Dre Moore (the Bucs' fourth-round draft pick) and receiver/return man Micheal Spurlock, who holds the distinction of being the only player in team history to return a kickoff for a touchdown.
In addition, the Bucs placed tight end Jerramy Stevens on the reserve/suspended list. Stevens was suspended by the league for the first two games of the season for his involvement in a DUI case last year. When Stevens returns, the Bucs will have to make a roster move to accommodate him.
Meanwhile, neither Simms nor Nece is expected to have trouble finding a new team. Nece can play all three linebacker positions in the Tampa 2 scheme as well as special teams. With several former Bucs coaches working around the league, his services could be in high demand.
"I have no regrets and I can't find it in myself to say anything negative about the organization," Nece said. "It's been special being a Buccaneer. The future hopefully holds a lot more football for me and I'm talking to several teams already. Hopefully, something will be worked out quickly."
One team that may have an interest in Nece is the Detroit Lions. Nece's former position coach, Joe Barry, is the defensive coordinator there and he believes Nece would be a fine addition to any club.
"Besides being a talented player, he's an A-plus person," Barry said. "Whatever team is able to land Ryan Nece on the rebound is going to get a heck of a football player."
Simms, 28, has been the subject of trade talk since draft day, when three teams offered a second-day pick for him. At least one of those teams, the Bears, is believed to still have interest.
The Bears kept three quarterbacks on their roster, including Caleb Hanie, but they were believed to be closely monitoring the Simms situation and could sign him and release Hanie as soon as today.
"Hopefully something happens soon," Simms said. "I'm in the dark right now, but I'm excited to see where I'm going to end up. At the same time, I'm also sad to be leaving Tampa. I really did love it here."
Simms' career with the Bucs fell apart just as it was taking off. After being named their starting quarterback for the 2006 season, he struggled through two games and then suffered a season-ending spleen injury in the third.
It wasn't until this preseason that Simms began to look like his old self again, but by then he had become so fed up with Coach Jon Gruden's treatment of him that he asked to be released or traded.
"I think I at least showed teams during the preseason that I'm healthy and can take hits and run and move around when I have to," said Simms, who completed 19 of 30 passes for 155 yards this preseason.
"It comes down to, I feel good physically and I think I improved from week to week. I really just need reps, that's all, so we'll see what happens."
Simms' place as the Bucs quarterback of the future is now occupied by Josh Johnson, the rookie of out San Diego who was kept along with starter Jeff Garcia and backup candidates Brian Griese and Luke McCown.
This marks the second straight year the Bucs have kept four quarterbacks on their roster.
Tribune reporter Ira Kaufman contributed to this report. Reporter Roy Cummings can be reached at (813) 259-7979 or email@example.com.