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Sunday, October 10, 2004
Sources: Johnson wants release or trade

ESPN.com news services

Brad Johnson, who earlier in the week was replaced at quarterback by Buccaneers second-year pro Chris Simms, will ask the team to trade or release him, sources have told ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

Chris Simms
Simms

Brad Johnson
Johnson

Johnson has fallen behind Brian Griese to third on the Bucs' depth chart.

Simms, meanwhile, hurt his left shoulder when he was sacked Sunday by Saints defensive lineman Will Smith in the final minute of the first quarter. Simms fumbled on the play and Smith was penalized for unnecessary roughness.

Simms was taken to the locker room to be checked. Griese replaced him.

Between Simms' injury and the Bucs being right up against the salary cap, Johnson is not likely to be moved.

The NFL Trading Deadline is October 19th.

Johnson, 36, led the Bucs to Super Bowl victory two seasons ago, but he has lost 10 of his last 13 starts, including six in a row dating to last year. Johnson has completed 65 of 103 passes for 674 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions in four games.

Simms replaced Johnson after 15 plays of Tampa Bay's 10-6 loss to Seattle on Sept. 19. Although he led two field goal drives, he fumbled twice -- losing one, while committing the other on the Seahawks' 1-yard line and forcing his team to settle for three points instead of a touchdown -- and tossed a game-clinching interception.

"I hope I can give us the spark we need," Simms said last week, when the Bucs (0-4) began preparation for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints.

Tampa Bay's offense has struggled to get the ball in the end zone, ranking next-to-last in the league in points. The unit, which is missing holdout receiver Keenan McCardell and several injured key players, began the season with a stretch of 11 quarters without a TD.

Simms was the emergency quarterback during last week's 16-13 loss to Denver, and was inserted into the game to throw a desperation pass on the final play. He is 21-of-33 for 175 yards, no TDs and one interception.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.