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Long-Time Tight Ends Coach Simmons Retires


Long-time offensive assistant coach Rennie Simmons has retired after 27 seasons in the NFL, including 18 with the Redskins.

In addition, defensive quality control coach Arthur Smith has left the organization to pursue a career in the military.

Simmons originally joined the Redskins' coaching staff in 1981 as tight ends coach under then-head coach Joe Gibbs. He later coached the offensive line (1990-91) and then the wide receivers (1992-93).

"We had a great five years together," Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder said. "We will miss Rennie dearly and he will always be a Redskin."

Simmons was on the coaching staff for four Redskins Super Bowl appearances, including three victories, and worked with such players as Clint Didier, Doc Walker, Don Warren, Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby, Gary Clark, Art Monk and Ricky Sanders.

"The Redskins are a first-class operation," Simmons said. "It started with Mr. [Jack Kent] Cooke and the Cooke family and then Dan Snyder has continued it. As a coach, and even as players, you can't beat it. It's the best organization that I've been with, without a doubt.

"I was fortunate enough to be with Joe (Gibbs) all those years and come back again on a second tour with him. I found out a long time ago, it's not so much where you are at that counts, but who you are with. When you are surrounded by good people and a first-class operation, as a coach you can't ask for anything more than that. It is just a matter of doing your job as a coach. They give you every opportunity to do that there at the Redskins."

Simmons returned for a second stint with the Redskins in 2004, coinciding with the arrival of tight end Chris Cooley.

Under Simmons' tutelage, the former third-round pick from Utah State has been selected to the last two Pro Bowls and has been one of the NFL's most productive tight ends over the last five seasons.

"Rennie was an outstanding coach for us," head coach Jim Zorn said. "Not only what he did on the field, but off the field. I think that the hard part, for me, seeing him retire is the wealth of experience that goes away immediately when he walks out the door.

"That experience then takes time to build back up when the new coach comes in and he begins his tenure. There is a hole there that is hard to fill right away."

In between tours with the Redskins, Simmons coached in the NFL for the Rams (1994), Oilers (1996) and Falcons (1997-2003) and spent one season with Vanderbilt University (1995).

He began his coaching career at Cal State-Fullerton (1974-78) and spent three seasons at Cerritos College (1978-80) before joining Gibbs' staff in Washington.

Simmons and Gibbs attended Santa Fe (Calif.) High School together and then played for Don Coryell at San Diego State.

Smith spent the last two seasons serving as defensive quality control coach and also assisted the defensive line and special teams units in 2008.

He joined the Redskins as a college scouting assistant in 2007 after serving as a graduate assistant in 2006 at his alma mater, the University of North Carolina, where he was a football letterman as an offensive lineman.

"We appreciate all of Arthur's contributions to our coaching staff," Zorn said. "He is a bright, young man and we wish him the very best."

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