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Join Date: Jun 2004
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Simms coming to impress UT fans
By JOHN MCCLAIN
Sept. 1, 2004
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle
TAMPA, FLA. - Tampa Bay quarterback Chris Simms is not approaching his appearance against the Texans on Thursday night as just another preseason performance.
Simms knows that in the Buccaneers' last exhibition before the regular season begins, a large portion of the crowd at Reliant Stadium, as well as many of those watching on television and listening on radio, will be University of Texas fans.
"This game will be my first time back in the state playing football," Simms said. "I definitely want to have a good showing.
"I still have so many friends in the Austin area, and the game will be broadcast there. If I don't have a good showing, I'm going to hear about it from them, so I better play well."
In his second season with the Buccaneers, Simms has rotated off the bench with veteran Brian Griese behind starter Brad Johnson. After being inactive for every game his rookie season, Simms has taken advantage of his playing time in three preseason games.
Simms has helped the Bucs to a 2-1 record by completing 36 of 51 passes (70.6 percent) for 359 yards. He hasn't thrown a touchdown pass — neither has Johnson or Griese — but he also hasn't thrown an interception.
"He had a very good preseason last year, too," Bucs coach Jon Gruden said. "I'm really excited about him. He has great ability. He's got a great arm and mobility. He can be quite flashy. And he has a charisma about him that I think everybody loves."
Simms, who might have been the most scrutinized player in Longhorns history, was the last player selected in the third round of the 2003 draft. After Simms reported to the Buccaneers, Gruden fell in love with his work ethic.
"Yeah, I love the guy," Gruden said. "He's a diligent worker who's paid a heavy price by coming in every day and working as hard as he has. He's worked on our offense, understanding the NFL, his presentation as a quarterback and everything that goes with it. He's polished his game, and he's so much farther along than he was a year ago.
"His upside is off the charts, but until you put a guy in and he spends six or seven weeks as your starter, you never know for sure. But the players have a great sense of confidence in him. They like him and respect him."