DALLAS (AP) – ESPN analyst Desmond Howard said Saturday that former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms threatened him over comments he made about Simms’ son.
Howard tweeted that Simms said “he wanted 2 take a swing at me” while the two were at the NFL Experience fan festival in downtown Dallas the day before Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Simms, who is part of the No. 1 NFL broadcasting team for CBS, acknowledged through network spokeswoman Jennifer Sabatelle that he had “a private conversation that became heated.”
Howard said Simms took offense to an on-air comment about a Tennessee-LSU football game. Simms’ son, Matt, is quarterback for the Volunteers; he was replaced as the starter after a 2-6 start and is now entering his senior season.
“At NFL-Xperience and Phil Simms just threatened 2 hit me b/c I said his son was 1 of the worse QBs in the SEC,” Howard tweeted. “I told him “LET’S GO!”
Howard, a former Heisman Trophy winner from Michigan who later played for the Redskins, sent four tweets Saturday. One said he was “DEAD serious about the Phil Simms thing.”
“We all thought he was joking, but he kept going and said he wanted 2 take a swing at me,” Howard wrote.
“I was at a public signing for a sponsor when Phil approached me to express anger over on-air analysis I made months ago about his son,” Howard said later in a statement provided by ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz. “During the conversation, Phil made a reference to hitting me and security and sponsor representatives soon stepped in. It was an unfortunate incident and I’m moving on.”
Simms disagreed, saying “at no time was there ever a chance of any physical confrontation or that I felt the police officer assigned to me by the event planners for my appearance needed to separate the two of us.”
Simms and partner Jim Nantz are the top broadcasting team for CBS. Howard is part of the crew that visits campuses each Saturday on the popular pregame show for Bristol, Conn.-based ESPN.
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