NOTE: Jeffery Simmons (6’4″ 301 lbs. DT, Mississippi State) was the first round pick of the Tennessee Titans in the NFL Draft on Thursday, April 25, 2019. Photo courtesy of 247Sports.com.
Dear Jeffery Simmons,
Welcome to Tennessee and the city of Nashville!
I’ve been a fan of the Tennessee Titans since they were the Tennessee Oilers and played in front of dozens of fans in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. I’ve been to my share of games there, Vanderbilt and their current home that has gone by the names Adelphia Coliseum, The Coliseum, LP Field and Nissan Stadium.
I must admit, before tonight’s NFL Draft coverage on ABC/ESPN I had no idea who you were. In the hour before you were picked I heard about how you were one of the most talented players in the draft and would have been a top 5 pick but you tore your ACL preparing for the NFL Combine. In the seconds before you were picked I heard the College Gameday crew speculating that the Titans might pick you. They seemed to be unanimous in their belief that you would be a steal with the 19th pick.
Sure enough, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called your name!
Instead of a cut away to the living room where you were celebrating with your family and friends, we as viewers were immediately introduced to your past – your dark, dirty, embarrassing past. There was no shot of you putting on a Titans cap. There was no “Simmons 1” jersey. There was no hug with Commissioner Goodell. There was no feel good, Tom Rinaldi interview with one of your family members.
Instead we listened to Rece Davis read a cold, piercing rap sheet from a teleprompter. We learned about the fight, your guilt and your status with the legal system.
Jeffery, you deserved better.
We as Tennesseans and Nashvillians deserved better.
Nashville, Tennessee has put together a draft experience that will never be equaled. The way ABC and ESPN handled what should have been a mountaintop moment in your life, for our city and our team is downright shameful.
By all accounts you’ve learned from your mistakes. You’ve been a model citizen at Mississippi State. You’ve been a leader both on and off the field.
Along with being Music City USA and the It City, Nashville has another nickname. It’s been referred to as the Buckle of the Bible Belt. There are over 2,000 churches within two hours of Nashville.
In those churches we read and learn from the same book. Two passages came to mind as I watched your draft moment earlier tonight:
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23
“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Matthew 7:2
Jeffery, welcome to our family. You’re now a Tennessean. You’re a Nashvillian. You’re a Titan!
Just like you, all of us have done things that are shameful. We’re just not talented enough to have our sins plastered all over national television.
Know that we’ve already forgiven you. Know that we’re not concerned with who you were or what you did. We’re interested in who you are and who you will be.
We’re excited about what you will do at Nissan Stadium and to our opponents in the AFC South. We’re equally interested in how God will use you to positively impact the young people in our state and our city.
We can’t wait to meet you. We will celebrate your arrival.
We’ll be praying for your speedy and complete recovery.
We can’t wait to see you in navy and light blue!