Chris Simms caused quite a stir on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney on Thursday, saying that he received $100 handshakes in exchange for autographs during his collegiate career at the University of Texas.
On Friday, however, Simms backed off his initial remarks – or at least clarified them.
“Did I receive a $100 handshake at Texas? Yes, I did. Not once, but twice, to be honest with you,” Simms said. “It was not (a) pre-arranged (agreement to sign autographs in exhcange for money). No, this was outside of the University of Texas campus. This was not on campus. I signed the jerseys – not even worried about being paid – and then I got a $100 handshake, and I thought it was really cool. But to imply that Texas had anything to do with this, that’s so crazy.”
Simms, who was filling in as co-host for Tiki Barber, initially broached this topic on Thursday, randomly admitting that he received $100 handshakes at Texas.
“They didn’t pay me,” Simms said Thursday. “There might have been cash going around to some other players, I’m not going to deny that. I got some $100 handshakes every now and then for signing some autographs for a big alumni. He might have a jersey, a bunch of jerseys he wants me to sign real quick. Sure, he can give me a $100 handshake. That’s the best. I don’t care how rich your upbringing was. Yes, I grew up with a silver spoon. Big deal. You give me a few extra hundred bucks as a college kid, that’s great.”
It didn’t take long for social media to blow up.
“It’s unbelievable that gained that much steam,” Simms said. “I knew it had gained steam because I left here, I’m heading over to Bleacher Report because I got to shoot videos there and talk about the NFL. I look at my phone and I got like 30 text messages, like, ‘I think your comment about the $100 handshake is gaining steam.’ I was like, ‘Oh geez, here we go.’”
Simms said $100 handshakes are extremely commonplace in college athletics.
“This just in,” he said sarcastically. “There’s $100 handshakes going on at every Division I school in the nation, and then you go down to I-AA and they’re still happening there. It’s going on everywhere. It’s just part of really human nature in general.”
Simms, the son of two-time Super Bowl champion Phil Simms, played under Mack Brown at Texas from 1999 to 2002. That he occasionally received financial assistance is, in many ways, unsurprising.
“I was the starting quarterback at Texas, my last name’s Simms (and) I was the No. 1 player in the nation coming out of high school,” he said. “I was having some fun down there. At that time period – at that school, in that city – I was somewhat of a big deal, as they say.”
Simms, an All-Big 12 performer in 2001 and 2002, insisted that he received money from Texas alumni, not the university itself.
“I hope I didn’t get Texas in trouble because certainly Texas had nothing to do with that,” Simms said. “Mack ran as clean a program as you can possibly run.”