GREENWICH, Conn. When it comes to football and athletics, former New York Giants player Bob Simms of Greenwich is one of the strongest supporters in the region. If his father had had his way, though, Simms' career would have taken a different path.
We were all going to be lawyers, he said while enjoying a light lunch and drink at Westport's The Red Barn . The restaurant used to be one of the great Giants hangouts back in his day, he said, when it rested closer to Interstate 95. Walking into the building, the owners and staff lit up and offered a friendly handshake and hug while asking how he has been.
Their father pushed Simms and his three brothers to be lawyers. Sports and other ideas changed those plans in nearly every case. Simms went on to the National Football League for three seasons, starting in 1960. Most of that time was spent with the Giants, with a portion of his final season on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Now, Simms sits on the board of the National Football Foundation and is a member of the NFL Alumni Connecticut Chapter . Through both groups he champions scholarship programs. In the latter, he is joined by his friend David Theis, who is running for re-election to the board of selectmen in Greenwich.
Simms' charity work isn't restricted to those with an interest in football. He is a key figure in sponsoring the Campfire Club of America 's Clay Bird Shoot to support the Wounded Warrior Project . The state of New York recently honored him with a proclamation for his efforts, but he's humble enough feel the honor is misplaced.
These are the real heroes, he said, talking about the soldiers wounded while serving their country. These are our kids.
Simms, who spent the 50 years after his NFL career navigating the world of finance, is happy these days to spend time on his Wyoming cattle ranch. He noted the beauty of riding through the countryside and enjoying the wildlife and scenery.
Folks often miss his lighter side, Simms said, which sometimes doesn't shine through an occasionally stern exterior. When asked about his brightly colored watchband, he said somberly that there is no story behind it and then fished out a pair of reading glasses with an equally prismatic frame.
You should see the pumpkin hat I keep in my car, he said, giving a slight chuckle and enjoying his meal.
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