Did you blink? Did you miss it? That fleeting flash was former Ohio State defensive end John Simon's presence at the Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, AL. Simon was hit with a shoulder injury on the first day of practice, and he's now done for the proceedings. And as Fox Sports Ohio notes, we're not actually that sure about the extent of the injury yet:
A shoulder injury forced John Simon out of the Senior Bowl, a source told FOXSportsOhio.com, and it will require a further inspection and an opinion from orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
Whether that visit has taken place or what, if anything, was found remains unclear.
Simon participated in just one practice here this week before withdrawing from the game with that [sic] he said was a lingering injury from last season. He played hurt for his entire senior season at Ohio State, and still played well enough to earn Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors. A knee injury kept him out of the season finale vs. Michigan.
Now, you hear "Dr. James Andrews" and you think bad things. Dr. Andrews is who Adrian Peterson went to after his torn ACL. He's a Tommy John surgery specialist. He's the Redskins' team doctor, and bad things always happen to the Redskins (we kid, we kid, 'Skins fans).
The decision to go to Andrews, however, might be based in something as simple as convenience. The Senior Bowl practices are in Mobile, and Andrews is based out of Birmingham, AL, right up I-65. So if Andrews is that close, why go further to see someone who's not him—especially when something as crucial as draft stock is directly at stake?
The note that Simon's injury is lingering from last year is worrisome. On one hand, it's a testament to Simon's indomitable spirit that he battled through an injury in order to have a successful senior season—and succeed he most certainly did. But if Andrews pokes around and sees that Simon's shoulder is being held together by cobwebs and cold spaghetti, then that's bad news for his future in the NFL. The shoulder is kind of just a little important, after all.
In fact, there's no small measure of irony in the notion that Simon, in a successful demonstration of personality traits that would make him desirable to NFL teams, might have ruined his long-term NFL prospects if his shoulder's in trouble.
That all being said, the injury might have been something of a blessing in disguise for Simon—one that might actually help his draft status. Simon is being looked at as an outside linebacker due to his size and skill set, and here's the rather unflattering opinion of Optimum Scouting after Simon's one day of drills:
-The Senior Bowl has Ohio State’s John Simon at linebacker, which is just tough to watch when he’s in space. He struggled throughout practice in coverage, and obviously looks out of place there. The plan is to play the SLBs line him in a 4-3 Under (almost a 5-2) so he’s closer to the line like a 3-4 linebacker, but he’ll continue to look poor in generic linebacker drills…because he isn’t a generic linebacker.
So with Simon missing the game, he can reevaluate his positional aspirations for the next level and perhaps recommit to playing with a hand down. At the very least, the injury saves him from "looking poor" when the Senior Bowl actually rolls around, and that is something pretty much every NFL draft prospect should try to avoid.