By now, Chris Simms’ career-threatening and possibly life-threatening injury has been well documented.
Three games into the 2006 season, Simms — then the starting quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — suffered a ruptured spleen against the Carolina Panthers.
The fact that Simms could start an NFL game on Sunday for the first time since that fateful day, and a subsequent splenectomy, has not been lost on Head Coach Josh McDaniels.
“I have a great deal of respect for what he’s overcome now to come back and do this, and I can also see every day why he’s overcome it,” McDaniels said. “He works as hard as or harder than anybody we have on our team.”
According to McDaniels, there isn’t much, if anything, not to like about how Simms handles himself on a daily basis. He deems Simms’ attitude as “phenomenal,” and considers his work ethic to be top notch. McDaniels said the seventh-year pro “lives in the weight room” and is always the last one working out after practice — usually when nobody is looking.
“Those are the kinds of things that make you believe in a kid like this that went through an injury the way he did,” McDaniels said.
“His outlook, I am sure, was probably affected by (the injury), and I think he enjoys every day that he’s here and he takes advantage of it,” McDaniels continued. “That’s why I think that our team embraces him in his role and would embrace him in whatever role he would serve for us because, again, I think you gain a great deal of respect from your coaches and your peers about how you work and how you handle yourself, and I don’t know anybody who does that better than he does.”
While it is still up in the air as to who will take the helm at quarterback for the Broncos in Week 11, this much is for certain: If Kyle Orton can not take the field due to injury, McDaniels has confidence in Simms’ ability to lead the Broncos against their AFC West rival, the Chargers.
“Chris had a good day (on Wednesday),” McDaniels said. “I feel very good about the way he practiced. Mentally, he’s on top of the game plan, as is Kyle. I think any quarterback is going to benefit from the reps. I think he certainly did. As practice went on, you could see there’s a little juice to him and (he) got more confident. It was good to see that. We know he can do that. I think everybody has great confidence in him.”
Simms missed the entire 2007 season due to his injury and worked diligently to regain his form in 2008 while serving as Tennessee’s third-string quarterback.
After a long road back, Simms does not hesitate when asked about his enthusiasm level when thinking about the posibility of starting on Sunday — with first place up for grabs, no less.
“I am extremely excited,” Simms said. “I really am. Any time you have the chance to play, it’s exciting. And in my case, it’s been a long time.”
MORE TICKETS AVAILABLE
Extra tickets are now available for Sunday’s AFC West matchup between the Broncos and Chargers at INVESCO Field at Mile High.
The Broncos announced on Thursday that the Chargers have returned 300 tickets for Sunday’s game, and those tickets are now on sale to the general public.
The tickets are being sold at all Ticketmaster outlets, via Ticketmaster Charge By Phone, through online sales at www.ticketmaster.com and at the INVESCO Field at Mile High box office.
There were four changes to the Broncos’ Injury Report on Thursday. After neither player participated in Wednesday’s practice session, Josh Barrett (hamstring) was a limited participant on Thursday and Brandon Marshall (neck) was listed as a full participant. Correll Buckhalter (knee) and Brandon Lloyd (foot) were both limited participants on Wednesday, however, neither took part in Thursday’s practice session.
For the Chargers, TE Antonio Gates (foot) and OLB Shawne Merriman (foot) were full participants on Thursday after both did not practice on Wednesday. DE Travis Johnson (groin), DT Ogemdi Nwagbuo (ankle) and OLB Shaun Phillips (ankle) were all listed as limited participants after not practicing on Wednesday. P Mike Scifres (bilateral groin) practiced in full after being listed as a limited participant on Wednesday.
– Zach Eisendrath, DenverBroncos.com
Here are some pictures from the onset of Thursday’s practice session at Dove Valley: