In addition to a torn ACL, Mississipi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons gave many teams pause in the 2019 NFL Draft due to an assault of a woman while he was in high school. The Titans eventually made him the No. 19 pick in the draft, a selection that was cleared by team owner Amy Adams Strunk, Pro Football Talk’s Darin Gantt writes.
“Jon [Robinson] and Mike [Vrabel] came to me months ago, and we discussed since then,” Strunk said, via Erik Bacharach, of the Nashville Tennessean. “We watched the video together, and it begins with trust from Mike and Jon that I was able to get comfortable. They were both very respectful that I needed to be comfortable, because at the end of the day, I have the final decision.
“We all can look back on our lives in high school and wish we’d done things differently. You can talk, ‘I’m sorry,’ but the best thing is, is that he’s lived the life of, ‘I’m truly sorry and I’m going to be a good man.’ And so that made it really easy for me to become comfortable with Jeffery. And we’re getting a great football player, that goes without saying, but we’re getting a great man. Our locker room is so important, and we only have good men in there. And this young man is a good man.”
The incident, which happened in 2016 and involved Simmons striking a woman multiple times on the ground, happened while the defensive tackle was in high school, before he enrolled at Mississippi State. Due to the incident, many teams reportedly took the talented tackle completely off their draft boards. Simmons was touched by the remarks of his new team’s owner.
“I mean, coming from a woman, . . . like I said, I made that mistake,” Simmons said. “I regret it. Just to hear her say all that, I’m grateful. Key word she said was trust. [I’ll] tell her in front of you guys that she can trust me. I won’t let her down. I won’t let either one of you guys [Robinson and Vrabel] down. I’m grateful.”
Though one of the most talented defenders in the draft, Simmons could miss his entire rookie season with that torn ACL.
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