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Titans QB Simms says police mistaken in marijuana arrest

New York police say Tennessee Titans backup quarterback Chris Simms told them he had been smoking marijuana before he was stopped while driving Thursday -- but he said he was just talking about cigarettes.

Simms called the case against him "very weak" as he left a Manhattan courthouse after his arraignment on charges of driving while impaired by drugs.

"I think it speaks for itself," Simms, 29, said as he walked to a waiting car, with his pregnant wife on his arm.

Released without bail, Simms is due back in court Aug. 23 on the misdemeanor and traffic-violation charges.

Police and prosecutors said Simms slurred his words, had bloodshot eyes and smelled of marijuana when stopped early Thursday at a downtown Manhattan police checkpoint, with his wife, Danielle, in the car.

According to a court complaint, Simms told an officer that he had been "smoking marijuana in the car earlier." Simms' lawyer, Nathan Semmel, said the quarterback didn't say that -- and wouldn't do it.

"My client never admitted to smoking marijuana that night," Semmel said. "He admitted to smoking cigarettes that night."

Semmel called it "absurd" to suggest that Simms would drive impaired while his wife, eight months pregnant with their second child, was riding in the car.

"There's nothing in his record, whatsoever, that suggests that he would be that reckless," said Semmel, who suggested two other unidentified passengers in the car's back seat "might be the sources of the odor" of marijuana that police reported.

Police had no immediate comment, but one source told *The New York Post* that Simms "was muttering" when talking to officers. Police sources also insisted to the newspaper that Simms and his wife were the only passengers in the car.

If convicted, Simms could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. He didn't accept prosecutors' offer to plead guilty Thursday in exchange for a $500 fine, three days of community service and a six-month license revocation.

The Titans said in a statement that they were aware of the case and gathering more information about it.

Simms has started 16 games during his six-year NFL career and is in his second stint with the Titans. He came to Tennessee in 2008 after being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, then returned to the Titans after playing for the Denver Broncos last year. He was a third-round draft pick by the Bucs in 2003.

Simms is 7-9 as a starter and has thrown for 3,117 yards and 12 touchdowns with 18 interceptions. He is the son of former quarterback Phil Simms, who is now an announcer and analyst for CBS Sports and led the New York Giants to two Super Bowl titles in 14 seasons.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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