TAMPA--Given the opportunity to suggest the Bears would be a good landing spot for his son Chris Simms, CBS analyst Phil Simms passed Wednesday afternoon.
Maybe it was the line he draws between being a commentator and a proud papa, but Simms was hardly excited about the possibility.
"I was told earlier today that there had been some talk [the Bears being a match for the free-agent quarterback] but I did not know that,'' Simms said. "If it's in Chicago, good. Wherever it is.''
While it's not a definite, there is a good chance the Bears will venture out into free agency and look for a quarterback with some experience to bring in. If they don't, it will be a sign of confidence in Caleb Hanie taking the next step. Simms, who the Bears had interest in last spring, and Pittsburgh backup Byron Leftwich are two candidates.
"You're asking the wrong guy," Simms said after announcing end-of-season awards for New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson. "I'm not what people say or think. When [my son] played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I couldn't have told you 10 people on the team. I know the league inside and out, but I don't get involved. I don't want to know.''
General manager Jerry Angelo and coach Lovie Smith have gone out of their way to make it clear Kyle Orton is the incumbent. Yes, jobs are always available to be won, but it's unlikely there will be a full-blown competition as there was last summer. Simms professed all season to like Orton and the job he did.
"I was on the record all year, I know Kyle Orton,'' he said. "I followed him through college, I saw him early with the Bears and I thought he grew up. He was a different-looking guy this year. I thought he had a little moxie to him. There is a little something he has that I like. Whoever goes in there, it would be awfully tough to think that you're going to take Kyle Orton's job. I know that.''
Simms blew off the idea that the Bears liked his son coming out of Texas in 2003 when he lasted late into the third round after the Bears had used a first-round choice on Rex Grossman.
"If they liked him so much, why didn't they draft him?" he said. "I don't know about all that. I hear from old girlfriends that tell me they used to like me in high school. Yeah, right. How come you didn't like me in high school. I couldn't get a prom date. So don't give me that.''
As for what situation would be best for his son, he's not tipping his hand.
"There are 10 teams in the league that are perfect for him,'' Simms said. "There's another 10 that are good and the rest of them, I hate them as far as their system."
More on Leftwich a little later on.