Steelers Offensive Guard Out for Season

Thursday, August 19th 2004, 9:19 am
By: News On 6

Pittsburgh right guard Kendall Simmons will miss the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, leaving the Steelers short on an offensive line already lacking depth.

An MRI exam Thursday revealed the seriousness of the injury. Simmons was hurt in practice Wednesday.

``All these things are part of the game,'' coach Bill Cowher said. ``We're not the only ones going through it, everyone's going through it and the one thing you don't want to do is alter how you approach the game.''

Simmons' agent, Eric Metz, said he will get a second opinion next week from Dr. James Andrews, a noted knee specialist.

``He's holding out hope that there's some way he can brace it up or do something along those lines to get out there and play, but it looks like there's a very slim chance of that,'' Metz said.


Keyshawn Johnson won't try to avoid former teammate Warren Sapp when their new teams play each other Saturday night.

Johnson said the public perception is wrong that they didn't like each other as teammates in Tampa Bay the last four seasons.

``That's what you perceive. That's not what I perceive,'' said Johnson, who will be playing for the Dallas Cowboys at Oakland.

Johnson said their wives are actually best friends and will be sitting together Saturday night in Sapp's box.

What about comments Sapp has made since joining the Raiders questioning how Johnson worked in Tampa Bay and seemed happy about being deactivated with six games left last season?

``That doesn't mean that he doesn't like me,'' Johnson said. ``I didn't like the way he worked around things, so what does that mean? Does that mean I don't like him? I don't like the way Bill Parcells does some things. Does that mean I don't like him? No, that's doesn't mean I don't like him.''


Rookie safety Bob Sanders missed his 26th practice Thursday morning, giving him the distinction of being the longest holdout since Bill Polian took over as Indianapolis Colts president in 1998.

The longest previous holdout was Edgerrin James, who missed 25 training camp practices in 1999, when he was the fourth pick in the NFL draft. Sanders was chosen with the 44th overall selection. The only other unsigned player is San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers, chosen fourth overall.

Colts coach Tony Dungy said he does not believe that the length of the holdout will affect Sanders' ability to be productive this season.

``I wouldn't say that there's ever a point of no return,'' Dungy said Wednesday. ``It's one of those things you aren't going to know until he gets here.''


A test on rookie linebacker Jorge Cordova's knee showed damage to the anterior cruciate ligament, and the third-round draft choice will be out for the season. Cordova will be placed on injured reserve and have reconstructive surgery.

``We were counting on him to be a force on special teams and be a guy who can come off the edge for us and create some pass rush skills,'' coach Jack Del Rio said.

Cordova, a third-round draft pick from Nevada-Reno, injured his knee Wednesday when running back Fred Taylor ran into him during a pass play.


Punter Brian Moorman was held out of practice with a strained left hamstring and could miss Buffalo's preseason game Saturday against Tennessee.

If Moorman can't play, the Bills would use rookie free agent Mike Shafer.

Moorman, who also serves as Buffalo's holder, was hurt in practice Wednesday. He was trying to run with the ball after a botched snap during a field-goal drill. He appeared to trip, came up limping and was escorted to the locker room.


Doug Flutie was back where he's most comfortable: on the football field. The 41-year-old quarterback participated in his first full practice since having arthroscopic surgery Aug. 5 on his left knee.

``It was fun,'' said Flutie, San Diego's quarterback with rookie Philip Rivers unsigned. ``It was nice to get back out there and feel like I belong. I was on the outside looking in for about 2 1/2 weeks.''

Coach Marty Schottenheimer was impressed with Flutie's work, but wouldn't commit to playing him Saturday night in the team's exhibition game against the Arizona Cardinals.

``We might get him a little bit of time, but what I want to do is make sure we don't have any setbacks with the thing,'' Schottenheimer said.


In an effort to improve their pass rush, the Chicago Bears have shuffled their defensive ends.

Left end Michael Haynes, the 2003 first-round draft pick, has moved to right side, switching with 2002 fourth-round pick Alex Brown, who's sidelined with a sprained calf muscle.

``Right now Alex is probably our best pass rusher,'' defensive line coach Karl Dunbar said.

Typical NFL strategy puts the best pass rusher at right defensive end, but Bears coach Lovie Smith has a different approach.

``Defenses I've been a part of, we've had a lot of success with our best rusher being on the left side,'' Smith said.