Simms de­nies he said he was us­ing mar­i­juana

Po­lice: Ex-Horn drove while im­paired by drugs

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Colleen Long

NEW YORK — Po­lice say Ten­nessee Ti­tans backup quar­ter­back Chris Simms told them he’d been smok­ing mar­i­juana be­fore he was stopped while driv­ing Thurs­day — but he says he was just talk­ing about cig­a­rettes.

Simms, who played for the Texas Longhorns from 1999 to 2002, called the case against him “very weak” as he left a Man­hat­tan courthouse af­ter his ar­raign­ment on charges of driv­ing while im­paired by drugs.

“I think it speaks for it­self,” Simms, 29, said as he walked to a wait­ing car,

Con­tin­ued from C1 with his preg­nant wife on his arm. Re­leased with­out bail, he’s due back in court Aug. 23 on the mis­de­meanor and traf­fic-vi­o­la­tion charges.

Po­lice and pros­e­cu­tors said Simms slurred his words, had blood­shot eyes and smelled of mar­i­juana when stopped early Thurs­day at a down­town Man­hat­tan po­lice check­point, with his wife, Danielle, in the car.

Ac­cord­ing to a court com­plaint, Simms told an of­fi­cer he’d been “smok­ing mar­i­juana in the car ear­lier.”

But Simms’ lawyer, Nathan Sem­mel, said the quar­ter­back didn’t say that, and wouldn’t do it.

“My client never ad­mit­ted to smok­ing mar­i­juana that night. He ad­mit­ted to smok­ing cig­a­rettes that night,” Sem­mel said.

He called it “ab­surd” to sug­gest that Simms would drive im­paired while his wife, eight months preg­nant with their sec­ond child, was rid­ing along.

“There’s noth­ing in his record, what­so­ever, that sug­gests that he would be that reck­less,” Sem­mel said.

He sug­gested two other uniden­ti­fied pas­sen­gers in the car’s back seat “might be the sources of the odor” of mar­i­juana that po­lice re­ported.

If con­victed, Simms, whose fa­ther Phil Simms was a for­mer New York Giants star, could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. He didn’t take pros­e­cu­tors up on an of­fer to plead guilty Thurs­day in ex­change for a $500 fine, three days of com­mu­nity ser­vice and a six-month li­cense re­vo­ca­tion.

The Ti­tans, in a state­ment, said they were aware of the case and gath­er­ing more in­for­ma­tion about it.

Simms has started just 16 games dur­ing his dis­ap­point­ing, six-year NFL ca­reer that in­cluded stops in Tampa Bay and Den­ver. Ti­tans backup quar­ter­back Chris Simms was ar­rested in New York City on charges of driv­ing while on drugs on Thurs­day.

Mark humphrey

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