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Darrin Simmons
Special Teams Coordinator

Bio

Darrin Simmons is in his 15th season leading the coaching of Cincinnati’s special teams, and for the fifth straight season in 2017, he carries the title of special teams coordinator. His squads have helped the Bengals reach the playoffs five times in the last six seasons. And in the long-established special teams rankings done annually by the Dallas Morning News, incorporating 22 categories of special teams play, the Bengals have had three top 10 finishes in the last five years.

Darrin Simmons is in his 15th season leading the coaching of Cincinnati’s special teams, and for the fifth straight season in 2017, he carries the title of special teams coordinator. His squads have helped the Bengals reach the playoffs five times in the last six seasons. And in the long-established special teams rankings done annually by the Dallas Morning News, incorporating 22 categories of special teams play, the Bengals have had three top 10 finishes in the last five years.

      Last season’s special teams highlight for the Bengals was the unexpected rise of college free agent Alex Erickson to the AFC kickoff return title, with a 27.9 average (on 29 returns). The rookie WR ranked second in the NFL, and his average was the second-best in Bengals history, behind only the NFL-leading 31.3 mark that CB Adam Jones posted under Simmons in 2014. Erickson became the first Bengal with three KOR of 65 or more yards in a season.

      Erickson did not make the AFC Pro Bowl team, certainly a voting oversight statistically, but Simmons’ units produced a Pro Bowler in both the 2014 and ’15 seasons.

      In ’15, HB Cedric Peerman made the squad as a kick coverage and return-unit performer. Peerman’s 17 tackles tied for the Bengals’ highest total since 2008, and he had 13 solo stops, leading the Bengals to a No. 3 NFL ranking in opponents’ average drive start on kickoffs (20.2 yard line).

      Simmons’ Pro Bowl player in 2014 was P Kevin Huber, who posted franchise records for gross (46.8) and net (42.1) average, re-setting club marks he already held. The Bengals vested Simmons in 2009 with a fifth-round draft choice for Huber, a relatively high spot for a kicking specialist, and Huber has responded under Simmons’ tutelage, holding franchise career records for gross (45.0) and net (39.8), and for best ratio of inside-20 punts to touchbacks (3.66-to-1).

      The player delivering the ball to Huber, LS Clark Harris, has also been a long-term standout for the Bengals under Simmons. Since joining the Bengals in 2009, Harris has had no unplayable snaps, with a total of 1149 (604 punts and 545 place kicks).

      In the last two seasons, the Bengals have been prominent in the NFL in blocked kicks. DE Margus Hunt led the league last season with three blocks (two PATs and one FG), and in 2015, DE Carlos Dunlap tied for the league lead in blocked FGs (two).

      In ’14, when Adam Jones led the NFL in kickoff returns, he also finished second in the league in punt returns (12.0), just missing becoming the first player since Detroit’s Mel Gray in 1991 to lead the league in both categories.

      Simmons’ Bengals special teams have shown a nose for the ball, forcing 26 fumbles in his 14 completed seasons. The 1.9 average nearly doubles the 1.0 norm for the nine seasons prior to his tenure.

      Simmons entered the NFL in the 1998 season on the same Baltimore Ravens staff as Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, who was Ravens defensive coordinator at the time. Simmons was assistant special teams coach and assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Ravens, and he held that same role for the Carolina Panthers from 1999-2002. He joined the Bengals in 2003.

      Simmons played an integral role at Carolina in the development of Todd Sauerbrun as one of the NFL’s top punters of the time.

      Simmons began his coaching career at Kansas University in 1996. He punted for Kansas from 1993-95, earning All-Big Eight honors his final year. As a senior, he helped the Jayhawks to a top 10 national ranking and to an Aloha Bowl victory over UCLA. Also as a Kansas senior, he won honors as an academic All-American.

      Prior to playing for Kansas, Simmons was a punter and QB for Dodge City (Kan.) Community College. In 1992 at Dodge City, he led the nation’s junior colleges in punting and was a first-team JUCO All-American.

      Simmons earned a degree in sports management from Kansas in 1996.

      Born April 9, 1973, in Elkhart, Kan., he graduated from Elkhart High School. He and his wife, Rhonda, have a daughter and two sons.

 

     Playing and coaching history: 1991-92—Played quarterback and punter, Dodge City (Kan.) Community College. 1993-95—Played punter, Kansas. 1996—Graduate assistant, Kansas. 1997—Assistant coach (AC), University of Minnesota. 1998—AC, Baltimore Ravens. 1999-2002—AC, Carolina Panthers. 2003-12—AC, Cincinnati Bengals. 2013-present—Special teams coordinator, Bengals.


Recent Articles

  • Hobson's Choice Podcast: Simmons keeps harvesting

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted Jun 9, 2016

    Darrin Simmons, who goes back home to Kansas and the family farm each summer, is the only special teams coordinator Marvin Lewis has ever had till all ends of the roster. Now that director of player personnel Duke Tobin is out in the open Simmons may be the most underrated figure on staff and that’s why we sat down with him recently for a Hobson’s Choice Podcast.

  • Bengals.com Honors: Assistant Coach of the Year

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted Jan 12, 2015

    Bengals.com is devoting this week to honoring the best in Bengaldom this past season: MVP, Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, and Assistant Coach of the Year

  • Special showdown; Secondary in flux again

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted Oct 4, 2013

    Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons doesn't remember much about that 1994 Cleveland Browns training camp.

  • Trying to predict NFL weather

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted Aug 16, 2013

    Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons just got done with one harvest and his farmer's eye is squinting at another. The NFL cutdown date of Aug. 31 is now a tense two weeks away.

  • Watchman

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted Feb 28, 2013

    Darrin Simmons isn't married to the stopwatch, but he's been pretty serious about it and after his sweet 16th NFL Scouting Combine this week the Bengals special teams coach continues to be adamant about speed.

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