Summer 2024

Justin Simmons seeks to be 'in tune with the Lord' as he awaits next NFL team

Considering his play on the field, there was no logical reason for the Denver Broncos to release safety Justin Simmons in March. In his eight seasons since the team drafted him in third round in 2016, he earned two Pro Bowl selections, four second-team All-Pro nods, was regularly among league leaders in tackles and interceptions, and he grew into the team’s unquestioned leader on defense.

But NFL decisions aren’t always based solely on play on the field. Because of his well-earned contract, the Broncos decided to let him go.

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Instead of becoming bitter or angry toward the organization, Simmons responded to the surprising release with thanks and gratitude. According to the Denver Post, Simmons received a call on March 6 from Broncos head coach Sean Payton, letting him know the team would be releasing him. The next morning, when the transaction became official, Simmons showed up at the team’s headquarters to say thank you and good bye to numerous team employees.

“There is so much that goes into playing well on Sunday. Even outside of practice. The nutritionist, the athletic trainer, those in the training room, the people upstairs in the front office who help with logistics, and so many others,” Simmons told the Denver Post. “I might not have said thank you every day I walked in, but I wanted to make sure that my last time roaming those halls as a player I said thank you and took time to let them all know that their work and words behind closed doors meant so much to me and played a big part in my success.”

Denver Post columnist Troy Renck wrote, “Employees who have been with the Broncos for the past two decades could not recall a player more gracious in his departure, more intentional in his purpose.”

To those who know Simmons, his act of gratitude is not a surprise. All he does is driven by his faith in Jesus. He describes himself on X as “an imperfect and unworthy follower of Jesus, saved by grace.” On Instagram, he calls himself a “child of the King.” He’s long been outspoken about his faith.

Simmons remains a free agent, though he has received interest from numerous teams looking for veteran leadership on defense. But as he awaits God’s next step for his football career, Simmons remains active in the Denver community. Earlier this month, he was on hand for the annual March for Peace hosted by the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club. And on July 11, he’ll be hosting the Justin Simmons Golf Classic to benefit the Justin Simmons Foundation.

And he’s enjoying some extra family time.

“God is so good,” Simmons told the Denver Post. “I’m so thankful for this time and for His faithfulness in terms of slowing me down and not taking things for granted. This offseason has been such a blessing. I’ve had a tremendous opportunity in my eyes to regain some lost moments of hanging out with family, I’ve got to go to my daughter’s dance recitals and I’ve got to see them grow and I’ve got to be home a lot more. All while training and staying ready so I don’t have to get ready.

“One door closes and another opens and that’ll open at some point here in the future.”

Offseason activities are underway for teams all across the NFL, yet for the first time in is pro career, Simmons is not with a team in the early summer. It’s hard to envision the 30-year-old won’t sign with a new team by the time training camps open next month, but whatever the Lord has for him, Simmons will follow His path.

“When you’re in tune with the Lord, His signs are glaring,” Simmons wrote in a first-person devotional for the Summer 2024 edition of Sports Spectrum Magazine. “Then it’s ultimately up to you to allow the Spirit to work within you to make you start walking in the direction of that sign. God knows what you’re going through. God knows what you’re praying for. Dive into what He’s trying to tell you. Don’t run away from it.”

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