Former NFL player and TDEU Hall of Famer - Tony "Touchdown" Simmons, who is also one of the most influential veterans in American football on the European soil, has recently been a part of a reality show hosted by John Cena - called "American Grit".
WWE superstar John Cena hosts this military-inspired competition that follows 16 of the country's fiercest men and women as they are tested in Pack Forest of Eatonville, Wash. The contestants are split into four teams and presented with a variety of military-grade and survival-themed challenges. John Cena and an elite group of mentors from exclusive military units help the competitors push past their limits as their strength, grit, spirit and, most importantly, teamwork skills are tested in hopes of winning the $1 million prize.
Tony says that there's always something to prove to yourself - and - that's why he joined the show - I love to compete and I will always be an athlete even though I retired professionally. It started from an email from a good friend Cora, and she was about to spam it and she looked at it and thought I would do something like this. We went to college together so she knows me well enough. I reach out to Left field Casting after she sent the email to me and I was in contact with Ally and after the Skype interview, next thing you know I was flying to LA.
When Tony told us he will be away for a few weeks, and that it's something top secret, we didn't know what to expect and what he got himself into. But, what did Tony expect out of the whole thing? - I expected craziness and anything that they would throw at me. I did not prepare for anything. I was moving from Naples, Italy back to the US and straight from Chicago to Bluefield. VA to work as a college football coach. I thought my days of competing were over.
If you're following the show - you'd know how tough the obstacles are (also called "evolutions"). What was the toughest one for Tony? - I was thinking how to finish them as a team and thinking about pace and control and everything. Swimming was the toughest task. I am not a good swimmer, don't really practice ever.
He is the last man standing for Team Tee, while other teams had at least 3 members left. Being alone might seem as something that someone with football player mentality wouldn't be able to adapt to, but not Tony! - It was hard mentally and emotionally. I have lost teammates the 1st (2) episodes, Chris and Brooke and episode 6 I lost Ivette. We went through so much in such a small time. My mother and family and friends were my inspiration to keep going forward.
I thought I was going 100%, it was truly about 85% . The NEVER GIVE UP attitude is upgraded and the beast has been awakened in my every day life, NOW.
In the last aired episode, Tony won the evolution, and the reward was 'safe from the circus, and a visit from a family member. Why did you give up your award, and gave it to an opposing team member? - I prayed for a day off from the Circus and it just happened to be on that evolution so I pass on the blessings to another. I was taught when I was growing up when you get what you pray for, take it and share the blessings with others. So I did.
There's only a few episodes left! Watch American Grit on FOX or online, every Thursday, 9pm EST (GMT-4)