With injuries and contract negotiations behind him, Linebacker Anthony
Simmons says he is ready for a successful season for the team.
“ I feel great and I am back, last year was a disappoint and I am ready
to improve upon it.” Simmons said
after the team’s three-day mandatory mini camp.
Simmons suffered a high ankle sprain in the opening game
last season and returned for the teams final six games. Simmons finished the
year with 46 tackles, a sack, forced fumble and two interceptions. Although the
Hawks finished last in the league against the run, the defense shaved 17.5
rushing yards/game off their season average after Simmons’ return.
“Next year is going to be exciting, we are going to be more aggressive
and use the speed of our players.” Simmons said of the team defensive outlook
with the addition of Defensive Coordinator Ray Rhodes.
“ He brings such fire, excitement and he is serious about his
In addition to resigning Simmons to a multi year contract the Hawks made
other moves that should show instant dividends once the season gets under
drafted Cornerback Marcus Trufant, Safety Ken Hamlin, Defensive Tackle Rashard Moore and Linebacker Solomon Bates, retained the services of
veterans, LB Marcus Bell,
DE John Hilliard, LB Isaiah Kacyvenski, and DT Cedric
The team acquired DE Chike Okeafo, safety Damien Robinson
and DT Norman Hand.
Add in the expected return of a health
Chad Brown, Chad Eaton and John Randel the team could vary well soar in 2003.