After watching OT Perry Simmons get carted off the field during last night’s loss, Duke couldn’t have been thinking they had much of a chance of getting him back in time for their December 31st matchup with Texas A&M in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
Unfortunately, we received confirmation of this today, as Duke announced the Simmons suffered an ACL and MCL tear, which will likely sideline the senior for awhile and effectively end his career as a Blue Devil.
As magnificent and inspiring as football can be, it also has the ability to be a total load of unjust crap, and this falls into the latter.
Simmons had started in all 50 games of his career in Durham. He was recently named an Academic All-American, a third-team All-ACC selection, and the recipient of the prestigious Jim Tatum Award. When it comes to the kind of person he is, however, head coach David Cutcliffe said it best:
“Perry is one of the finest individuals I’ve known in my life,” said Duke head coach David Cutcliffe. “He is a tremendous football player and competitor. Also, he is truly the definition of a student-athlete in every sense. We appreciate Perry’s contributions to our program as a player and leader.”
He is the kind of guy you really want to be a part of your program, and he was one of the few players who got to see Cutcliffe’s rebuilding project all the way through. His career in Durham doesn’t deserve to end on the note it did, with the Blue Devils getting the living crap kicked out of them by Florida State, but stuff happens and in football, stuff really happens.
In terms of how it affects the team in-game, it is a tough break. Simmons earned that All-ACC honor; he was a hell of a lineman and Duke is going to be weaker in his absence. When you factor in what you lose in leadership and cohesion on the field, this could be downright devastating. The good news is Duke will have plenty of time to prepare and adjust with the bowl game being over three weeks away. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll manage to come together enough on the line to put up a serious fight against the Aggies’ defensive line.