Current Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden has a reputation for being extremely demanding of his quarterbacks, and former Buccaneers QB Chris Simms shared a hilarious story on The Dan Patrick Show that illustrates just how pressing Gruden can be.
Simms was a third-round draft pick in 2003 and only saw limited action in his first two NFL seasons. He got married just before his sophomore season, but he and his wife delayed their honeymoon until the next offseason. He cleared a trip to Italy with Gruden in the spring of 2006 – but Gruden began blowing up his phone midway through the trip.
Chris Simms: “I’m in Italy. I’m not the starter in Tampa, but certainly I think he sees potential in me to be the starter. It’s going into my second season.”
Dan Patrick: “And this is in March when you took your honeymoon.”
Chris Simms: “I believe it is…. We haven’t started OTAs yet. But back in that time, Gruden loved to go out and we would have walkthroughs. He’d make people in the building wear jerseys to simulate the defense and he’d draw up the cards, so we could get the new guys up to speed with the offense.
Some of the older quarterbacks at that time were not there or around…. So I take my vacation, of course asked for his blessing. ‘Hey, I’m going to go on a honeymoon with my wife, just two weeks and I’ll be back.’
…. I would say about day 8, one day I see I’ve got a few voicemails on my phone. Let me check my voicemails. I have four or five, and two of them are Gruden, like, the same day.
‘Hey man, what are you doing? Hope the honeymoon’s going good. Look forward to when you’re back.’
And then literally he must have left a message two hours later going like ‘hey man, when are you coming back?’
Next day I wake up [and there’s another message]. ‘I mean, what are we doing? Are you canoeing back from Italy?’ And he just went on and on.
I cut my honeymoon short because I was feeling the pressure. I really was…. My wife could see that it was starting to bother me and I knew I had the chance to be the starter. I was like ‘you know what? The weather’s not that great right now, honey, let’s get out of here and go back home.’”
Simms didn’t win the starting job that offseason, but did play in 11 games and helped the team to an 11-5 record after Brian Griese suffered a season-ending injury.
Chris Simms had to ditch his honeymoon to participate in an offseason walkthrough.