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September 4, 2010

Chargers DB, Traye Simmons Interview

by Max Strauss

Traye Simmons first played junior college at the College of the Sequoias. He then transferred to play for the University of Minnesota. He entered the 2010 NFL Draft, but actually went undrafted. He signed a undrafted free agent contract with the San Diego Chargers. He didn’t end up making the final roster and was cut right after the Chargers’ preseason. [UPDATE: He has been out of the NFL since he was cut by the San Diego Chargers.]

Strauss : So, Traye, why do you make it important to connect to fans?

Simmons : It’s important because fans give me support and motivation. Sometimes things get hard but the fans can bring my spirits up.

Strauss : If you could meet anyone, who would it be and why?

Simmons : I would want to meet Jesus Christ. I find it very bold and grateful what he did for his people.

Strauss : Who was your childhood star? Why?

Simmons : Deion Sanders. He’s the best there ever was and he made it look easy while looking good.

Strauss : What was your favorite NFL team growing up?

Simmons : Both the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons.

Strauss :When did you see your first live NFL game?

Simmons : I saw my first NFL game when I was twelve.

Strauss :What is your favorite song to listen to before a game? What pumps you up?

Simmons : Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight. I don’t know why I love this song but it gives me goosebumps.

Strauss : What is your favorite movie of all time?

Simmons : Friday is my favorite movie. Hilarious!!!

Strauss : What is your favorite snack food?

Simmons : Life Savor Gummies

Strauss : What is your favorite type of pie?

Simmons : Apple pie

Strauss : What is your favorite Ice cream flavor?

Simmons : I love white turtle ice cream.

Strauss : What is your favorite TV-Show?

Simmons : My favorite TV show is Martin. Martin Lawrence is a fool.

Strauss : What is your favorite meal?

Simmons : Mac and Cheese. Not out the box either… From scratch.

Strauss : What is your favorite video game?

Simmons : Madden on PS3.

Strauss : Who is your favorite superhero?

Simmons : Popeye.

Strauss : What is the one thing you can’t leave your house without?

Simmons : My contact lenses, lol.

Strauss : How long have you played football?

Simmons : I’ve played football for seventeen yrs.

Strauss : Did you play any other sports in high school?

Simmons : I also ran track during high school.

Strauss : What has been the hardest thing for you to do since you started playing football?

Simmons : Spend time just being a kid or being myself sometimes. This game transforms you and it sometimes makes it hard to do normal things.

Strauss : What is a favorite memory with a sport other than football?

Simmons : Winning the 10 and under 4×400 meter relay in Nationals in 1997.

Strauss : Could you have predicted how far football was going to carry you? Why?

Simmons : Not really, but I’ve always dreamed big since I was a little kid.

Strauss : When did you realize that you were going to play football in college and in the NFL?

Simmons : I knew I was going to play college and in the NFL when I was 16 years old.

Strauss :  If you weren’t playing in the NFL, what would you want to do?

Simmons : I’d be helping kids. I love helping kids maximize their potential.

Strauss : What impact did your high school coach have on your career?

Simmons : My high school coach James “Friday” Richards taught me how to work hard to get what I wanted and that’s something I’ve carried with me throughout college and the NFL.

Strauss : Describe the hardest change between the jump from high school to college.

Simmons : Weight lifting. Lifting killed me at times.

Strauss : How did the number process work out at Minnesota? Why? What happened?

Simmons : Well #15 was my number in Junior College also so I just kept it although I really don’t like #15.

Strauss : How had your game improved from throughout Minnesota?

Simmons : Just being a student of the game help me out and I progressed and got better.

Strauss : What did you learn from playing football at Minnesota?

Simmons : People still play football when its negative degrees outside.

Strauss : Who was the hardest player compete with in college?

Simmons : Arrellious Benn. That guy is a beast. He’s fast, strong, and runs great routes.

Strauss : What is your favorite memory from Minnesota?

Simmons : My favorite memory while attending the University of Minnesota is when I got an interception and returned it for a touchdown against Northwestern my junior year. It was special because I called it out before that drive happened. The best feeling in the world is making a play before it happens so when it finally happens, it’s like you knew it was going to happen all alone.

Strauss : What impact did your college coach have on your professional career?

Simmons : He let me know that football is a business at this level.

Strauss : What was the combine like?

Simmons : It was cool being around such great players you always see and hear about.

Strauss : What was your draft dayexperience like?

Simmons : I was expecting to get drafted in the 5-7 round. Unfortunately I didn’t get drafted. That made me mad actually and I’m here to prove that ALL the 32 teams missed a great CB in the draft. I’m blessed that San Diego picked me up. I feel both of us are getting a great deal out of the situation.

Strauss : What was going through your mind when you signed with the Chargers?

Simmons : Get me on a plane ASAP. I love San Diego!

Strauss : What number are you in the NFL? Why?

Simmons : #37. I don’t know why SD gave me that number, but I don’t care what number it is as long as I have a job, the number doesn’t phase me.

Strauss : What have you learned from your teammates? Who is your favorite Charger?

Simmons : I’ve learned from my teammates that all of us are here to win and be the best. My favorite Charger would have to be Paul Oliver. I grew up idolizing this guy when I was younger and now I’m playing alongside of him. He’s shown me the ropes and what I need to know to be successful.

Strauss : What is training camp like as a Charger?

Simmons : Charger camp is cool. I love the competing and we’re working hard to complete our goals. When I picked off my first pass I was like “Here we go baby! Just like the good ol’ days”. The best part is breaking on a ball and closing on it. No one really knows what is going to happen then I step in front of it and start racing down the field. What a rush!

Strauss : What do you look for when you watch film? How important has film been to your development?

Simmons : I study and critique myself. I study my opponents and watch others mistakes that plays my position. I think it’s bad to make the same mistake as my peers especially if the coach corrects my teammates. That would mean that I’m not listening.Film can make a average player good. It can make a good player great. When I see myself on film I’m able to see what I’m doing fine and what I need to do to improve.

Strauss : Do you have a nickname?

Simmons : “Big Play” Traye is my nickname. It was given to me in high school then it carried on to JuCo and Minnesota. I got it for making big plays (ints, breakups) or setting up my teammates for big plays.

Strauss : What is your favorite charity? Why? Why do you donate? Why should people donate?

Simmons : I like the Hope Kids foundation. I love to have fun with these courageous kids that has dealt with life threatening illnesses but it doesn’t affect their attitudes. That shows a lot of character. People should donate because it could happen to anyone and we should all help one another when times gets hard. I feel that if you’re a blessing to others, you will receive a lot of blessings.

Strauss : What’s the best thing that has ever happened to you?

Simmons : Me having to go to JUCO. It made me hungry and I learned not to take anything for granted.

Strauss : What is an experience you have had that changed your life?

Simmons : My parents being together for twenty-two yrs. They have should me how to manage my family and how to love my children.

Strauss : What is your favorite quote?

Simmons : “Detour doesn’t mean denial” – Mom

Strauss : For someone aspiring to play football in the NFL, what’s the best advice you can give?

Simmons : Work hard. It really pays off.

Strauss : Is there anything you want to tell your fans that I have not asked?

Simmons : I LOVE YOU GUYS!!! I won’t let you down.

Strauss : Thank you so much for your time.

Simmons : Thank you. Go CHARGERS!


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