Matt Simms, brother of Chris and son of Phil, had a modest goal as one of the 26 tryout players invited to the rookie minicamp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center this weekend.
“It’s just survival and see what happens,” said Matt after Saturday’s morning practice. “I just want to keep playing the game I’ve been playing since I was a kid, and wherever that is, I would love to do it.”
For now Matt will be playing the game with the Jets, who announced today that Simms signed a contract with the Green & White as an undrafted free agent.
Simms (6’3″, 210) has had his ups and downs along the quarterback road. He was quarterback of the vaunted Don Bosco Prep team in Ramsey, N.J., near his Franklin Lakes home — in fact, he still has the second-most career touchdown passes in New Jersey playoff history, 15 for the Ironmen from 2004-06.
Then he began his collegiate odyssey, going from Louisville to El Camino College to 10 starts for Tennessee but just two of them as a senior, which led to him not only not being drafted but not being signed until today.
“You’re going to go through a lot of different things and it’s going to be hard to adjust to different scenarios,” Simms said. “I’m fortunate that I did have my brother and my father. They have tremendous knowledge of the game and they’re a great support system. Their help has really guided me through this process, even thought it’s been difficult at times.”
The Jets of course have a veteran depth chart of Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow and Greg McElroy at QB and then signed G.J. Kinne from Tulsa as an undrafted FA immediately after the draft. Now Simms makes five, in large part because head coach Rex Ryan and coordinator Tony Sparano were impressed with his throwing at the camp, which concluded with a morning practice today.
“They’ve got to show it to you,” Ryan said Saturday about all of the tryout players that will come to any team’s minicamp in a given year. “You’re out there, you’ve got 40-some guys out there. They need to pop off the tape.
“With Matt Simms, the thing you’re impressed with immediately is how he can throw the football. He has a great arm — he can really spin ‘em. The thing you don’t see is obviously him against the rush. But I followed him, I knew he was at Tennessee. He had his ups and downs when he was there, but he has the arm now, and he has the pedigree.”
We probably don’t have to tell you that Phil Simms had perhaps the greatest passing day in Super Bowl history for the Giants over the Broncos in SBXXI and has been the network analyst for more than 60 Jets games, including seven of their playoff games, beginning with NBC in 1997 and then from ’98 to present with CBS. Chris had 16 starts for three teams over five seasons and now is a New England assistant coach.
Besides Simms, the Jets also announced that they have signed sixth-round S Josh Bush out of Wake Forest, and OL Fred Koloto (6’3″, 297), another tryout who has started at LT and last season at LG for San Jose State. Previously the Jets announced they had signed tryout WR Royce Pollard (6’1″, 175), who had 71 catches for 1,011 yards and eight TDs as a senior at Hawaii.
They also announced today that they have waived C Kris O’Dowd out of Southern Cal, a street free agent they signed in March.
Tags: Chris Simms, Fred Koloto, Josh Bush, Matt Simms, Phil Simms, Rex Ryan, Royce Pollard, Tony Sparano
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