Saturday, August 24, 2002

NFL Notebook: Simmons killed in crash

The Associated Press

        INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - Former linebacker Wayne Simmons, a starter on the Green Bay Packers' 1997 Super Bowl championship team, was killed early Friday when his car crashed and burst into flames. He was 32.

        Simmons was driving too fast and weaving through traffic on an interstate in suburban Kansas City when his Mercedes veered off the freeway about 2:45 a.m., witnesses told police.

        The car rolled several times and landed in a ditch, then the engine caught fire. Other motorists tried to get Simmons out, but they couldn't unfasten his seat belt.

        Firefighters put out the fire and pulled Simmons from the car. No one else was in the vehicle. An autopsy was planned.

        Simmons was a close friend of Derrick Thomas, a Kansas City Chiefs teammate who also died of injuries related to a car accident. Thomas died in February 2000 - a little more than two weeks after a wreck on an icy road left him partially paralyzed.

        Simmons was drafted 15th overall by the Packers in 1993 out of Clemson. His best season came in 1995, when he had 68 tackles and four sacks. The Packers traded him to Kansas City during the 1997 season, and he was a starter for the Chiefs the rest of that season and in 1998.

        “It's such a shock,” Kansas City defensive end Eric Hicks told KCTV-TV. “Wayne was so energetic and tough. ... He was a very intense guy and I think one of the best linebackers in the country.

        “He had a good career. It's really sad.”

        BROWNS: Cleveland rookie offensive lineman Qasim Mitchell remained hospitalized with a bruised lung following a collision with a teammate during practice. The team initially thought Mitchell was having heat-related problems when trainers helped him off the field Thursday.

        COLTS: To help strengthen depth on an injury-depleted defensive line, Indianapolis signed former Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Demetrious Maxie. To make room on the roster, the Colts waived rookie free agent quarterback Greg Zolman, who played at Vanderbilt and had yet to see action in a preseason game.

        DOLPHINS: Miami waived backup quarterback Tim Levcik, a day after trading with the Washington Redskins for Sage Rosenfels. Levcik signed as an undrafted free agent out of Robert Morris in April. In his only preseason action, he went 5-of-22 for 61 yards and two interceptions in a 24-7 loss to New Orleans on Aug.15.

        RAMS: St.Louis defensive end Leonard Little suffered a concussion after fainting in a restaurant, coach Mike Martz said. Little was expected to be released from a hospital today, and he won't play in the preseason finale at Kansas City next week. Little also might not be ready for the season opener Sept.8 in Denver.


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- NFL Notebook: Simmons killed in crash

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