Growing up with a dad that played in the NFL is something any serious football player would be in awe of, but to American River College defensive end Ewing Simmons, it’s normal.
Ewing, who comes from a long lineage of football, has been guided into the hardworking dedicated player he is today by father Jeff Simmons.
Jeff played college football at USC, and was drafted in the seventh round by the Los Angeles Rams in 1983 as a wide receiver.
Ewing, who ARC head football coach Jon Osterhout says, “does things naturally because he has been exposed to the sport his entire life,” has been playing football since he was in the eighth grade and was brought up in a family dominated by athletes.
Outside of his father who played in the NFL, Ewings’ brother Kevin Arbet also played at USC and used to play arena football for the San Jose SaberCats, where Ewing’s uncle Darren Arbet is the head coach, general manager and part owner.
“I think just growing up in a football household affected a lot of things, maybe even my decision to play division one football … I think the work ethic, the long days of practice with school, and just the lifestyle had a big effect on what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it,” Ewing said.
Jeff remembers vividly a time when he was coaching Ewing’s YMCA basketball team and they were about to compete against a one man team dominated by a star player.
“Ewing said, ‘put me on him, man to man, I will shut him down.’ That right there showed me his competitiveness and the fire inside him,” Jeff said.
In the 2013 football season, Ewing suffered an injury that was described by his father as a “freak accident” that resulted in a broken tibial head.
The injury, located on the outside of Ewing’s left knee, required him to wear a brace for a month followed by approximately six weeks of rehab.
Ewing missed every game of the 2013 football season but the injury did not dampen his spirit.
“Within days (after the injury) he was lifting weights,” Jeff said.
Osterhout who felt terrible for Ewing describes the injury as, “A blessing in disguise that helped Ewing continue to excel as a player and move forward.”
The hopes are high for the so far undefeated 2014 ARC football team and so is the possibility of recruitment for Ewing.
“College recruiters are always looking for size and speed which Ewing has in his tool belt” Osterhout said.
Jeff, who never misses a game, said, “He can play division one, there is no doubt in my mind. He is a legit division one prospect.”
When asked about what he wants the 2014 season to look like for the team Ewing said, “I want us to win every game, one step at a time, week by week, game by game.”
The ARC football team next plays on Oct. 18 at the College of Siskiyous beginning at 1 p.m.