LAS VEGAS – Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons is out here at Super Bowl LVIII because of his work, and leadership, off the field.
Simmons is the team's Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee. Since joining the team back in 2019, he's been active in the community in Nashville, as well as back home in Mississippi.
"The things you do in the community, to me, is bigger than football," Simmons said. "I never do it for the notoriety. I do it because I care."
Simmons, a team captain, is also a tone-setter and leader in the locker room for the Titans.
And, during an offseason of change, his mission is to encourage others to buy into a new regime moving forward.
Simmons doesn't hide the fact he was a fan of former head coach Mike Vrabel. But he's now fully behind new head coach Brian Callahan, and he plans to bust his rear end to be the best player he can be for him, and the Titans.
"I will start out with Coach Vrabel," Simmons said. "We had a great relationship, and we still have a great relationship. We communicate still. You hate to see it. You hate to see it happen. But things happen in this business, and like he said when we talked about it, it's going to be good. I wished him the best.
"I think coming up this season for us is it's going to be one of those seasons where we have to really reestablish ourselves in Tennessee. Having a chance to meet Coach Callahan in person, when I was in the building, I could tell that he is ready, he wants to win. And I am excited for the staff he is bringing in, especially with DC (Dennard Wilson) from Baltimore. I am excited, man. I think it is going to be good for us as an organization."
With change, Simmons said it's about keeping the faith, and getting others to follow.
The Titans lost 18 of 24 games over the past two seasons, and finished with a record of 7-10 and 6-11 in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
"You know I am always that guy," Simmons said. "I am going to make sure I can keep the locker room tight, and make sure no matter what it might be, no matter the situation, of course we just got a new head coach, I think it's going to be simple: Buy in or you just have to get left behind.
"For me, being a captain and a leader on this team, my job is to keep holding my end up on that.
"At the end of the day, it is a new beginning for us," Simmons continued. "It's a new chapter. We have a new head coach, so we just have to take off with it."
Simmons said part of the reason he's optimistic is because of General Manager Ran Carthon.
Last month, the Titans named Carthon Executive Vice President/General Manager. Carthon's duties will expand to include all areas that impact the football team: roster control, team activities and personnel decisions including draft and free agency acquisitions.
"I trust Ran, I respect Ran," Simmons said. "From the time I first met Ran until today, he's a guy that I respect. I don't question what he does. I don't question what coach he (was) going to get because I know he made the right decision. From the time I met him, I know he's a guy that came from a winning organization there in San Fran before we got him, so he knows what it takes to win."
Simmons will be at Allegiant Stadium for Super Bowl LVIII as one of the 32 nominees for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
Simmons, however, said he plans to head to the airport to catch a Sunday evening flight after being recognized on the field. He has no plans to stick around for the end of the 49ers-Chiefs game.
He can only handle so much of a Super Bowl without playing in it.
"It's a good feeling walking on this red carpet," Simmons said from NFL Honors on Thursday night, "but it would be better to be preparing for a game, watching film, practicing, and getting ready to play on Sunday.
"We have some work to do, but we have the pieces in Tennessee, and I have faith in Coach Callahan and Ran that they're going to bring the right pieces in. Ran and them are going to do a hell of a job in the draft. I am looking forward to it. I think we can get here."