Former Clemson Linebacker Wayne Simmons Dies


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Clemson, SC-Former Clemson starting linebacker and first-round draft
choice Wayne Simmons was killed in a one-car auto accident on
Interstate 70 near Kansas City early Friday morning. He was 32 years
old.


Simmons, who came to Clemson from Hilton Head, SC, had been
retired from pro football since 1998. He played with the Green Bay
Packers from 1993-96 before his two seasons with the Kansas City
Chiefs. He was a member of Green Bay's Super Bowl Championship team
of 1996.


Simmons was the 15th pick of the first round by the Packers
in 1993 and went on to play six seasons and 90 games in the National
Football League. He was named to the 1993 All-Rookie team as an
outside linebacker.


At Clemson, Simmons play four years covering 45 games, 16 as
a starter. He finished his career with 206 tackles, including a
career high 59 tackles as a freshman in 1989. He had 36 career
tackles for loss and 19 career sacks. Ten years after the
completion of Clemson career he is still seventh in school history in
quarterback sacks.


Clemson went to three bowl games in his four years and won
the ACC title in 1991. He was a member of Clemson's 1990 defense
that led the nation in total defense, and started on the 1991 defense
that led the nation in rushing defense.


The most famous play of his four years took place at Florida
State in 1989 when he returned an interception 73 yards for a
touchdown, a key play in Clemson's 34-23 victory over the Seminoles.


Simmons earned his degree from Clemson in finance in the
summer of 1992 and played his last year as a graduate student.


"Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with his family,"
said current Clemson wide receivers coach Rick Stockstill, who was on
the Clemson coaching staff for all four years Simmons played at
Clemson. "He always practiced and played at a high level. He was a
very competitive player.


"He was also unselfish. All four of the linebackers we had during
that era (Simmons, Levon Kirkland, Ashley Sheppard, John Johnson)
were team players. They were all great players and went on to the
NFL. He was a fun-loving guy off the field, a jokester, but very
popular with his teammates."


"We certainly feel for Wayne's family at this moment and our prayers
are with them," said Clemson Senior Associate Athletic Director Bill
D'Andrea, who was the offensive line coach in 1989, Simmons's
freshman season. "He was one of the most talented defensive players
we have had at Clemson. I will never forget that interception return
at Florida State. That changed the momentum of the game.


"He was also an excellent student. He took difficult classes and did
not cut any corners academically. He graduated on time with his
class."


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