Rennie Simmons‘ not totally unexpected retirement announcement doesn’t just leave the Redskins without a tight ends coach — although quality control assistant Bill Khayat, a former NFL tight end, is an obvious in-house candidate. Simmons’ departure less than two momths before his 67th birthday leaves only offensive line coach Joe Bugel on Jim Zorn’s staff as a link to the Redskins’ glory 1982-92 days under Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs.
What’s more, Simmons had the longest history with Gibbs and the Redskins. Simmons and Gibbs first met at Santa Fe (Cal.) High School and went on from there to play together at San Diego State under Don Coryell. They reunited in 1981 when Gibbs was named Washington’s coach and hired his old pal to coach tight ends. Simmons remained through 1993, also helping with the offensive line and coaching the receivers. He moved on to the Los Angeles Rams, Vanderbilt, the Detroit Lions, Houston Oilers and Atlanta Falcons (where he went to a fifth Super Bowl) before rejoining Gibbs in Washington in 2004.
Unlike effusive “Boss Hog” Joe Bugel, Simmons preferred to remain in the shadows, only occasionally dealing with the media and hardly ever going on camera. But current Redskins tight end Chris Cooley, Simmons’ last and best protege, thinks enough of his position coach that he’s taking him with him to the Pro Bowl next month. That’s a heck of a parting gift, but an appropriate one.
Earlier:Tight end coach Simmons retires