The Jacksonville Jaguars today released 12-year veteran defensive end Clyde Simmons, who was the team's leading sacker each of the last two seasons and an integral part of the team's playoff run in 1996 and '97.
"Clyde Simmons is a true professional, and his contributions to the Jaguars organization - both as a quality football player and as a quality person - cannot be overstated," said Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin. "Clyde is a man among men. He is an individual who has the maturity to evaluate for himself the younger players around him who need guidance and leadership, and he has the rare skill of being able to handle a leadership role.
"That was indeed a most fortunate day for a young Jacksonville Jaguars franchise, the day that Clyde Simmons became a Jaguar," Coughlin added. "We went from being a team that had just 17 sacks in 1995 to a team with pass rushers like Clyde Simmons and Tony Brackens, who led us to 37 and 48 sacks each of the last two seasons. Clyde Simmons has left his mark on the Jaguars."
One of the premier pass rushers in the NFL, Simmons joined the Jaguars on August 23, 1996, three days after being released by the Arizona Cardinals. In two seasons, he played in all 32 regular-season games, making 27 starts, and he made 134 tackles and 16 sacks while forcing five fumbles and recovering one. Simmons also blocked four kicks during the regular season and one in the 1996 playoffs.
Perhaps his most noteworthy accomplishment as a Jaguar came in the Jaguars' first-ever playoff game in 1996 at Buffalo when he turned the game around with a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown of a Jim Kelly shovel pass in the first quarter after the Bills had taken a 7-0 lead. The Jaguars won that game 30-27, and a week later Simmons blocked an extra point attempt in the Jaguars' stunning victory at Denver.
Simmons ranks as the seventh-leading sacker among active NFL players and 11th all-time with 109 career sacks. He has started 167 games and played in 188 games, both highs for any player who ever wore a Jaguars uniform. Simmons played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1986 to '93 and for the Arizona Cardinals in 1994 and '95. A true playmaker, he scored six touchdowns (one in postseason) in 12 NFL seasons, forced 21 fumbles and recovered 14, and blocked 12 kicks.
Simmons made sacks against 25 of the NFL's 30 teams, and he had at least half a sack in 79 of his 188 games played, including 25 games with two-plus sacks. With the Eagles in 1992, he had a streak of six consecutive games with a sack. In all, he sacked 46 quarterbacks (one other in postseason). Dallas' Troy Aikman was Simmons' favorite victim, getting sacked 9.5 times.