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So Long Mr. Simmons
By GREG STEPHENS--MOP Squad Sports Football Editor
Mar 8, 2007 - 11:09:09 AM

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Indulge me for a moment as a write as a fan, and not a football analyst.   I understand that, on some level, Brian Simmonsí release makes sense.   Perhaps that level is a business one, freeing up money to spend on free-agents the Bengals will never sign.


I understand the die-hard football fan will never confuse Brian Simmons with Brian Urlacher.   Simmons has played nine seasons in the NFL, all for the Bengals.   In that time, he has recorded one hundred or more tackles three times, with his season high being 115 in 1999.   In a typical full sixteen game season, Simmons records about eighty tackles and isnít known as much of a sack machine.


Last season, the aging veteran only played eleven games and hit sixty tackles.   He had zero sacks, two picks, and one forced fumble.   The Bengals considered him expendable given the money they had to shell out to franchise Justin Smith.   Granted, with eighty-one tackles and seven and a half sacks, Smith had a great 2006.   Was there no way of restructuring Simmonsí contract to keep him on board as well?


I have had the opportunity to meet Brian Simmons.   I took my son to an autograph signing with Simmons in 2005.   Simmons took time to talk to my six year old, signed his picture with an inscription, and asked my four year old daughter if she wanted to sit on his lap for a picture.   Brian Simmons is a genuine nice guy.   He was never one of the Bengals that made the news for personal issues.   The community liked him.   The team respected him as a leader on the defense.  


Brian Simmons just signed a lucrative three year deal with the New Orleans Saints.   He goes from a team still searching for its identity to a team that made the conference title game two months ago.   I wish him the best of luck and congratulate the Saints in getting a quality player, and a quality person.   In reality, this move will be good for Simmons.   As for Cincinnati, I hope the Bengals can find that veteran leadership that tends to come around only once in a great while.

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