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Sack was nice, but rookie DT knows road is still long

Paul Kruger earned a good deal of attention for his five tackles and one sack in the Ravens' 13-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the preseason opener for both teams last Thursday night, but the outside linebacker wasn't the only player to take down an Eagles quarterback.

Derek Simmons sacked rookie Jerrod Johnson late in the fourth quarter, and the undrafted rookie defensive tackle said he was surprised that he got to Johnson.

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"I kind of thought he was going to throw the ball away," Simmons recalled after Monday's practice at the team's training facility in Owings Mills. "I'm definitely going to send him a Christmas card for giving me my first gift. He slid and gave it to me. I tagged him and got my sack, but it definitely felt good just to be out there and get to say that I'm finally a pro. So it was definitely an overwhelming feeling, but then again, there's still a lot of work to be done."That was the only tackle for the former USC product made Thursday night, but it's the kind of play that can separate a player from a crowded position. Still, Simmons, 23, said he can't rest on just that one sack.

"It's definitely good to show up on film, but that's just one play," he said. "Being a pro means coming every day and putting the same thing on film. I'm going out there and trying to bust my butt every day."

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The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Simmons has a steep hill to climb with the likes of Arthur Jones, Brandon McKinney and Lamar Divens battling for playing time behind starters Haloti Ngata and Terrence Cody. The odds would appear long, but Simmons said he is slowly beginning to find his comfort level at training camp.

"Sometimes I play like a rookie and sometimes I play like I belong here," he said. "I think my mental errors are getting down. I'm just trying to go out there and compete every day and try to make the 53-man roster or sign somewhere else."

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