NASHVILLE – Veteran edge rusher John Simon has a new opportunity, and he's ready to seize it.
An eight-year veteran who has spent time with the Patriots, Colts, Texans and Ravens in his NFL career, Simon signed with the Titans just three day ago.
Decked out in No.59, Simon was on the field for the first day of training camp on Wednesday, working up a sweat. He said it's his job "to come out here and prove (the Titans) made a good choice every day" by signing him.
"It is exciting," Simon said after Wednesday's practice. "We've got a good team here, and I am happy to be a part of it. I am just trying to come in, day in and day out, and try and earn their respect and get to work a little bit.
"(I just) want to show the guys that I am here to help the team any way possible to win games, whether that is in the film room, out on the field communicating, building relationships, practicing hard. … Every team has a different culture and you just come in and try and build yourself into it."
A fourth-round pick of the Ravens in the 2013 NFL Draft, Simon spent the past three seasons with the Patriots, where he played in 47 games, with 30 starts, from 2018-2020.
Simon recorded 46 tackles and two sacks for the Patriots in 2020, when he played in 16 games, with two starts. Simon played 702 of a possible 1,017 defensive snaps (69%) for the Patriots last season. In the last three years with the Patriots, he tallied 30 starts, eight sacks, and nine tackles for a loss.
Simon has worked under Titans head coach Mike Vrabel in the past, first in college at Ohio State, and later in the NFL when they were together with the Texans.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mike," Simon said. "I have been with him before, and I know how he coaches. I know how demanding he is, and I appreciate that kind of work ethic, and I wanted to be a part of it.
"I know this is a tough, physical team that likes hard work. … Everyone seems dedicated to the cause here, and I am looking forward to working with them."
Vrabel said he expects Simon to step in and compete.
In his NFL career, Simon has played in 97 career games, with 52 starts. He's recorded 277 career tackles, and 21 career sacks, 25 tackles for a loss, and two forced fumbles, along with 11 passes defensed and two interceptions.
After playing in 2013 for the Ravens, Simon played three seasons with the Texans (2014-2016) before joining the Colts for one season (2017). He then signed with the Patriots, and he was part of a Super Bowl-winning team in 2018.
Simon (6-2, 260) played in 50 career games with 37 starts at Ohio State, totaling 154 tackles, 20.5 sacks and 10 passes defensed. Simon was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2012 following his senior season, and he became just the eighth player in school history to be named a two-time captain.
"What we expect out of John is what we expect out of everybody else – be available to come out to work, learn," Vrabel said. "I coached John in college, had an opportunity to coach him in Houston, and we made the decision to bring him in here. I am sure he will compete at outside linebacker and special teams just like the rest of those guys in that group."