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Matt Simmons honors father through football

November 17, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
He is a captain on the Bishop Montgomery Football team -- you have probably heard of Matthew Simmons's father, Randal.Randy Simmons was the squad leader and is the only Los Angeles police officer killed during a SWAT operation.

"I miss a lot of things about my dad," Simmons said. "Just him being there for me, we talked a lot in the car and I always miss him telling me things about God, and how God works and the reasons why we're on this earth."

You don't have to look very far to see Matthew has a God-given gift to play football. The sport connected Matthew with his father, just as a uniform and gun connects a police officer to the community.

"I have limited knowledge about the details, intricate details about football," Matthew's mother Lisa said. "I try to play dad by sitting here with Matthew and watching football with him, and he goes 'Mom this is defense, not offense.'"

Lisa Simmons says that a letter Randy wrote to Matthew on the day that he died may have been a premonition of what was to come.

"The day Randy died Matthew was upstairs and was reading this letter," Lisa Simmons said. "And I said 'Matt, what are you reading?' Tears were just pouring out of his eyes and I said, 'What are you reading?' and he showed me the letter and I was just shaking all over."

The letter said: "Things to do to make it to college."

The letter included workouts that Randy used to become a Division 1 football player at Washington State University.

"It just talked about all this stuff about football, like what he really wanted me to do," Simmons said. "What he was saying, seemed like he was about to go away really soon."

The letter ended saying that Randy would always be there for Matthew and that he loved him very much.

Matthew was just 15 years old when his father died. The tragedy and shock could have forced him away from football, but instead it fueled his passion.

Matthew changed his number to 17 in honor of his father.

Washington State has retired Randal Simmons's jersey number -- and they will be getting his son in the fall.

"I know my dad would be proud of me," Matthew said. "I just feel bad sometimes because he's not there to congratulate me."


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