Texans' Simmons gets opportunity to start for injured SS Earl Print
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Tuesday, 14 August 2007 12:59
NFL Headline News

 HOUSTON (AP) -Jason Simmons isn't flashy or outspoken. And his thin, compact frame doesn't exactly strike fear in the opposition.
But the Houston Texans safety is intelligent, a hard worker and will do whatever is asked of him. It's those qualities that have helped him enjoy a 10-year NFL career despite never being a full-time starter and is exactly why he's getting a chance to take over for Glenn Earl, who fractured his foot Saturday against the Bears.
``He's a guy that deserves a chance to go out there and play, and it's a big opportunity for him,'' coach Gary Kubiak said. ``You could tell just looking at him ... he sees that opportunity to step up and be a starter, so we'll see how it goes.''
The 5-foot-9 Simmons is one of only a handful of original Texans still on the roster. He signed with the Texans in 2002 after spending the first four years of his career in Pittsburgh.
He appeared in all 16 games last season but started only twice, once each at strong safety and free safety. He had 38 tackles and an interception on defense and added nine tackles on special teams.
The 31-year-old had three tackles in Houston's preseason opener on Saturday and Kubiak was impressed with his performance after Earl was injured early in the game.
``When your time comes you just want to make the most of it,'' Simmons said. ``I know a couple people may say: 'Who is this guy or what is he going to do?' But I think the people in this organization have the confidence in me.''
Kubiak initially planned to move free safety C.C. Brown to Earl's spot and let the others fight for Brown's position. After some thought, he decided to give Simmons the strong safety spot instead.
``I am happy about the opportunity,'' Simmons said. ``I think they have trust in me that we won't slack off. It hurts losing Glenn Earl because he was a good leader on this team. But I have to go out there and I have to step up.''
Earl was coming off one of his most productive seasons. He started in 15 games and had a career-high 70 tackles, two sacks, an interception and a forced fumble in 2006.
A longtime backup and fill-in player, the most games Simmons has started in a season was six in 2004. He has 227 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions in his NFL career after spending his college career at Arizona State as a cornerback.
Simmons thinks his experience will be beneficial to the group.
``It's one of those things where you know that they have confidence in you and I hope that I show that they should have the confidence in me,'' he said.
 

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