In many eyes, Tennessee took a big gamble when it decided to select Jeffery Simmons with the 19th overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Aside from Simmons’ offseason ACL injury and rehab, which is likely to cost him the first half of his rookie NFL season — at minimum, the Titans risked alienating fans that may never look beyond the ugly incident the lineman was involved in prior to his enrollment at Mississippi State. A video of Simmons punching a woman repeatedly went viral upon its release and forced many to question whether Mississippi State should even allow him to play football for the school.
Ultimately, Simmons was given a chance to redeem himself and he’s made the most of that opportunity as he’s developed into not only the best player on Mississippi State’s talented roster but one of the leaders in the locker room and in the Starkville community.
While he will have to repeat that process to earn the trust of some Tennessee fans in the coming weeks, months and years, the leadership of the Titan franchise publicly expressed their confidence in Simmons with his selection and again on Friday as the team publicly introduced the team’s first-round pick.
Notably, Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk offered up her total support for Simmons during the press conference, which brought tears to Simmons’ eyes.
“We all can look back on our lives in high school and wished we did things differently,” the Titans owner said on Friday. “The best thing is he’s lived the life of ‘I’m truly sorry and I’m going to be a good man.’ And that made it really easy for me to become comfortable with Jeffery. We are getting a great football player, that goes without saying, but we are also getting a great man.”
Check out the powerful moment below, courtesy of Buck Reising:
— Buck Reising (@BuckReising) April 26, 2019