New England Patriots: Kendall Simmons

Former Patriots OL Simmons signs with Bills

November, 24, 2009
Former Patriots offensive lineman Kendall Simmons, who was released Nov. 9 when the team promoted cornerback Kyle Arrington from the practice squad, signed on Tuesday with the Buffalo Bills.

The Bills placed guard Eric Wood, one of their two first-round draft choices this year, on injured reserve.

Simmons appeared in one game for the Patriots this season. Coach Bill Belichick said the team wasn't planning to release him, but when the Cleveland Browns attempted to sign Arrington to their active roster, the Patriots decided to hold on to Arrington by putting him on their roster and releasing Simmons.

Football journey: Kendall Simmons

October, 23, 2009
On Saturdays throughout the season, we plan to highlight one Patriots player's football journey. This week, the spotlight is on veteran offensive lineman Kendall Simmons, a versatile backup who has worked at center, guard and tackle since signing a three-year contract with the Patriots earlier this year.

Simmons was active for his first game last week, and played right guard in the second half. He was also an option as an emergency tackle.

On when he started playing football: "Like any kid, it was backyard football. The first ever organized football was in fifth grade. Looking back, I'm jealous at the kids who are playing Pop Warner now because it looks like they're having so much fun. I wish I had the chance to do that all over again."

On the positions he played and teams he followed: "I wasn't really a football guy back then. I didn't start following football until my junior year of high school, when I found out I had a chance to continue playing in college and a couple of schools were looking at me. I was a baseball/basketball guy. I loved baseball. If I was 100 pounds lighter right now, I'd probably try to play baseball. My favorite player of all time was Reggie White. I always wanted to play defense. I was a defensive guy until my second week at Auburn, when I was moved to offensive line."

On attending Auburn: "Honestly, I thought it would be Mississippi State. My dad used to tell me when I was a little kid that I was going to play football for Mississippi State. My older sister went to State. But coach [Rick] Trickett came in and made such an impression on me that I was dead set on Auburn."

Memories of Auburn: "I had a lot of good times. One thing I miss, which you don't see as much in professional sports, is the trueness of playing football, how the kids love it and put all their heart and soul into it. It's not about money. They love playing. The fans. Tailgating. Bands. Fighting for your school. That's different."

On being a first-round draft choice of the Steelers and his fondest recollections from his Pittsburgh days: "Getting drafted, and being in the first round, I wasn't expecting that at all. I became diabetic my second year, and probably shouldn't have played then, and in my third year I blew my ACL out. I was fortunate and blessed enough to come back the next year and start every game and win the Super Bowl. To me, that was the best thing."

On being with the Patriots after a serious Achilles injury that could have ended his career: "I was talking about it the other day on the phone with a friend of mine. I feel fortunate to have had the chance to play with two of the best franchises in NFL history. Being on this team, I've learned a lot of different things, how they run things differently, differences in the players. My journey as far as playing, I've learned that I have to earn it now, instead of being a first-round pick and being thrown into the mix. That's been a tough adjustment, but I've been through so much in the last couple of years so I'm rolling with the punches. It's definitely better than sitting at home in Auburn without a job."

On playing five positions for the Patriots: "It's very different. But I've learned and this is what I'd tell any young guy: The more you can do for a team, the better and longer your career can be. Whatever they ask me to do I'm going to do it to the best of my ability."

Summing up his journey: "I'd just say I love my wife and my kids for sticking by me. It's been rough the last couple of years but it's been the best thing because we got a fresh start, and can do it right this time."

Past football journeys:

Chris Baker

Brandon McGowan

Ron Ninkovich

Myron Pryor

Darius Butler

Belichick has options to weigh

October, 13, 2009


The Patriots received positive on the injured right leg of Matt Light -- with ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reporting that Light has no ligament damage in his knee or ankle -- but the team will presumably still be facing life without their starting left tackle in ensuing weeks.

The question is how will they fill the void.

Rookie Sebastian Vollmer replaced Light during Sunday's loss in Denver, but that doesn't necessarily mean Vollmer will be there this Sunday against the Titans and All-Pro defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch.

The other option is to switch right tackle Nick Kaczur to the left side and insert Vollmer at right tackle.

One of the main factors coach Bill Belichick is likely to consider is if he wants to make a one-for-one exchange, or if he's willing to change two spots on the line because of one injury. During a game, Belichick seems to think it is less disruptive to go the one-for-one route. But with a week of practice ahead, it is a bit easier to adjust to two changes on the line.

The other factor in play is who becomes the No. 3 tackle.

The Patriots usually enter each game with seven offensive linemen, one backup at center/guard, the other backup for both tackle spots.

Mark LeVoir, who is eligible to come off the physically unable to perform list after the Titans game, would be a natural fit as the No. 3 tackle. But in the interim, the Patriots could experiment with veteran Kendall Simmons.

When the Patriots signed Simmons to a three-year deal in early September, Belichick said, "He's played right guard in his career at Pittsburgh, but I think he has the ability to play left guard. We'll use him inside, maybe some at tackle."