Saturday ESPN’s Desmond Howard reported on his official Twitter account that he was nearly physically attacked by CBS announcer Phil Simms while at the NFL Xperience exhibit in Dallas.
(Simms one hour before confrontation with Howard)
Howard reported in a serious of Tweets:
At NFL-Xperience and Phil Simms just threatened 2 hit me b/c I said his son was 1 of the worse QBs in the SEC. I told him “LET’S GO!”
I am DEAD serious about the Phil Simms thing. We all thought he was joking, but he kept going and said he wanted 2 take a swing at me!!
It ended w/police stepping in between so I could continue my appearance w/fans.
So what prompted Simms to threaten to strike Howard?
From another Howard Tweet:
During the season we talked about the Tenn v LSU game and I said “u will see 3 of the worse QBs in the SEC” That’s what Phil did not like.
Simms’ son Matt is a quarterback for the University of Tennessee.
(Desmond Howard Saturday before being threatened by Phil Simms)
This isn’t the first time Phil Simms has responded to a football pundit who criticized one of his quarterbacking sons.
In 2005, ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown’s Steve Young said of then-Tampa Bay quarterback Chris Simms:
“I worry about his mental toughness. His dad was one of the greatest at being tough and handling all the criticisms. I worry that he grew up in a much different atmosphere, laissez-faire kind of atmosphere. And I’m worried that he doesn’t have the mental toughness to deal with the information overload that comes with the NFL. Until I see that week after week, like last week, I’m still not a believer.”
The next day on a conference call with the media, Simms said of Young’s comments:
“You know, Steve, follow football more than one day a week and you might know some of these answers. There’s one thing I know my son doesn’t lack is toughness. And he didn’t grow up in a laissez-faire atmosphere. Far from it. Come to my house, live with me, and let’s see how laissez-faire it is. I don’t know how Steve Young lives his life, but I don’t live mine that way. And I didn’t raise my kids that way.
“You can say whatever you want about my son, but one thing that’ll get me mad, and I’ll stand in your face about it, is about toughness. Who the hell can be tougher than him, physically or what he endures?”
Young later called Simms to express regret for making comments about his son’s upbringing.
After the incident between Simms and Howard, Howard’s wife Rebkah, who was at the Miami-Virginia ACC basketball game in south Florida today, sent out a Tweet reacting to news of the incident:
So apparently while I’ve been at this bball game, Phil Simms tried to assault my husband at the NFL Experience? Oh, Ok. #wheretheydothatat?
I have an email into CBS for comment about the incident involving Howard and Simms today.
UPDATE (2:44p PT): In response to today’s incident involving Desmond Howard, Phil Simms released the following statement to me through CBS:
Desmond and I were having a private conversation that became heated. But at no time was there ever a chance of any physical confrontation or that I felt the police officer assigned to me by the event planners for my appearance needed to separate the two of us.
After Simms’ statement was made public, Howard released this statement through ESPN:
“I was at a public signing for a sponsor when Phil approached me to express anger over on-air analysis I made months ago about his son, Tennessee QB Matt Simms. During the conversation, Phil made a reference to hitting me and security and sponsor representatives soon stepped in. It was an unfortunate incident and I’m moving on.”
I understand we’re talking about Simms’ sons here, but perhaps next time he should show some restraint when one of his colleagues - who is merely doing his job - comments about one of his quarterback sons.
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