As the Denver Broncos opened training camp Thursday — the first of all NFL teams as they prepare for the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 1 against Atlanta with a new head coach — safety Justin Simmons is in an interesting position: coming off the best season of his career and entering a contract year.
Simmons started all 16 games for Denver and set new career highs with 97 tackles and three interceptions in 2018. Drafted by the Broncos in the third round of the 2016 draft, the fourth-year pro has appeared in 42 games and started 32.
He figures to be a big part of new coach Vic Fangio’s defense, which Simmons was excited about after the first day of training camp.
“I thought it was smooth,” he told the media. “What I was really impressed by was how from OTAs — the last day of practice — to now, I felt like there was less mental errors and things like that. From a defensive standpoint, I’m excited and encouraged. There is still a lot to work on, still a lot to improve on but I’m encouraged. I’m really looking forward to keep building this thing up.”
If Simmons has a big year, he’s likely to sign a big contract. But despite the uncertainty that comes with being in a contract year, Simmons is placing his trust in God. He is ready to embrace whatever God has in store for him next.
“I’d like for that to mean I’m going to have a great year and it’s going to be a great contract, and that could just not be His plan for my life,” Simmons said recently on the Sports Spectrum Podcast. “I just want to make sure [in seeking guidance and advice] that I’m just settled and comforted in the Lord’s plan for my life and whatever that may look like.”
Simmons grew up in a Christian home but described himself as a “lukewarm Christian” until meeting his now-wife, Taryn, in high school.
“My walk with the Lord has been an amazing journey,” he said. “One of the things I love about my sport is the platform that comes with it. The bigger the platform, the more people I’m able to touch with the truth of the Gospel and just my relationship with the Lord. That’s the biggest thing I’m thankful for.”
Now, Simmons wants to use his story as a way to inspire others to put their faith in God.
“Christ saved me from myself and I love to share that with different people because you never know where people are with their walk and their faith,” Simmons said.
#Broncos @jsimms1119 has cool new tattoo that is part of bigger art working on his left arm. New ink reads “Unashamed.” It ties directly to his faith which he said “saved my life.” #Denver7 pic.twitter.com/iRO2LjyuAW
— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) July 16, 2019
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