While speaking with reporters Wednesday, the defensive tackle expressed gratitude and loyalty to the franchise that ignored health concerns when it selected him in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Tennessee's investment -- seen as a relative risk at the time -- has paid off tremendously, and Simmons is more than willing to reciprocate for the next half-decade, if not longer.
"I never picture myself wearing another color than two-tone blue, other than a gold jacket," Simmons said, via the team's official site. "This is a great day. I hope I retire here, and I hope I can make this franchise happy."
Simmons has certainly made Tennessee happy to this point in his career. In his last two seasons, Simmons has recorded 16 combined sacks, 108 tackles and 21 tackles for loss. He's become a game-wrecking defender and undoubtedly earned his two Pro Bowl trips and pair of second-team All-Pro selections.
Simmons' road began with a torn ACL suffered while training ahead of the 2019 draft, sending him down draft boards that previously had him listed as a surefire top 10 pick. By the time Tennessee's pick arrived, the Titans were happy to see the Mississippi State standout was still available, and scooped him up at 19th overall.
It's not the only time Simmons has been forced to battle through pain. Just this season, Simmons played through an ankle issue that caused him to miss two games. Simmons disclosed Wednesday he underwent a "clean-up" on the ankle during the offseason.
"I feel fine right now," Simmons said. "I think the main thing is keep getting the ankle better right now."
Simmons' payday might have come as a surprise, as his name doesn't immediately come to mind when considering the top interior defenders. But make no mistake, those who pay close attention know very well just how effective Simmons has become.
Tennessee was happy to pay him for his contributions and his bright future. If his career continues down this path, he just might end up retiring a Titan.