When the Titans selected defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons in the first round of this year’s draft, they did so with the knowledge that his availability for his rookie season would be impacted by the torn ACL he suffered while working out on his own.
Simmons’s rehab went well enough for him to begin practicing with the team as soon as he was eligible last week and the Titans took him off the physically unable to perform list in time for him to play against the Chargers.
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said Monday that Simmons told the team he felt ready and had the confidence to play. Simmons showed he was ready for the competition by sacking Philip Rivers once, making two tackles for loss and knifing into the backfield to help set the table for Melvin Gordon‘s fateful fumble on the goalline.
“I am not going to sit here and say, ‘Hey, we’re 2 and 4 and you’re playing.’ I would never do that, I would never want anyone to do that to my son,” Vrabel said. “And he came in, and it was a cool thing, he was emotional to be able to recognize that dream and play in the National Football League.”
Simmons played 21 snaps on Sunday, but his production makes a case for more playing time in the future as long as all remains well with his knee.