Aiming to go the distance

BOB MACKIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

Tony Simmons might have the biggest smile in Abbotsford.

The B.C. Lions' wide receiver is making his second comeback in as many years from knee injuries that could've ended his career.

Five games into the 2005 season, the 32-year-old Chicagoan suffered a knee hyperextension requiring surgery. He was horse-collared and pulled down on a kick return in Regina during the second game of 2006. The result was more surgery and more time on the sidelines. He was running and catching balls by fall, but not ready to play in B.C.'s successful quest for the Grey Cup.

"Third time's a charm, this year is going to be hopefully 18 full games," said the ex-New England Patriot.

Simmons, a personal trainer and website designer in the off-season, said he has played football continuously since he was nine years old and perhaps the injuries were messages from his body.

"My body was telling me it's time to pull up a bit," he said. "You're not getting any younger. You can still be young, but you can't get into the same type of stuff you used to."

Meanwhile, defensive lineman Wyatt Gayer was the first cut of camp yesterday. Offensive guard Sherko Haji-Rasouli was sidelined for three days with a right shoulder injury. Haji-Rasouli is inheriting the spot left by salary cap-castoff Bobby Singh. Singh, coincidentally, was sidelined for several 2006 games by a shoulder injury.


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