Barcelona Dragons wide receiver Tony Simmons boasts a wealth of NFL experience with the New England Patriots but admits he is still excited about the prospect of playing in NFL Europe.
Simmons plans to use his NFL pedigree to his advantage this spring and turn the Barcelona Dragons into World Bowl champions. The former second round draft pick in 1998 certainly has the tools to be one of the top wideouts in the league this year.
But what has impressed the Dragons coaching staff in the early days of NFLEL training camp in the Tampa Bay area is Simmons' outstanding attitude.
Despite having made 56 catches for 981 yards and 6 touchdowns in three NFL seasons, Simmons believes he still needs to learn more and is keen to improve his game with the Dragons.
"It is great to be in NFL Europe - and I really mean that," Simmons said. "I have a lot of NFL experience but I also came here to learn. I've seen I still need to learn more things and this will help me.
"I need to run better routes and catch more balls, stuff like that. NFL Europe will give me that experience by playing and that is very important."
Dragons head coach Jack Bicknell has been delighted by Simmons' approach during practice sessions at Clearwater High School.
The veteran NFLEL sideliner said: "The beauty with Tony is that he's excited to be here. When they allocate a kid like that you ask yourself whether he is going to come in and say: 'What the hell am I doing here, I'm a big-time player.'
"But he came in just excited to be here and wanting to learn."
Simmons is determined to use NFL Europe to his benefit and insists he will go full speed to ensure he returns to the Patriots as an improved player.
"Everybody comes to NFL Europe to get better but I want to get much better," the talented wideout said. "This gives me an opportunity to play football, get better and to see some of the world, because you really don't get to see the world in the NFL because you are working out all the time in the off-season."
With Simmons boasting so much NFL experience, he is in a position to act as another coach on the field for the Dragons, passing on useful tips to his teammates.
"I help the other guys out in practice but they also help me as well," Simmons revealed. "It's a give and take situation. They tell me things they have learned from other teams and I can tell them a lot of things as well because I have been in the league a little longer."
Bicknell added: "Tony is a smooth athlete with great hands and he is intelligent. This league will really help him. And he helps the players around him – he works with them and we have some other good receivers so I feel that's going to be a strong group for us."
While a successful career with the Patriots is a long-term goal for Simmons, he refuses to look past his spell with the Dragons.
The former Wisconsin star said: "My main ambition is to get Barcelona to the World Bowl. If we win that I figure everything else will take care of itself."