Mike Vrabel had some interesting comments about the status of Titans first round pick Jeffery Simmons during his press conference today.
Roster designation not made yet for Jeffery Simmons, but #Titans coach Mile Vrabel says the first-round pick is far along in his recovery from ACL injury in February. How far? pic.twitter.com/ZnVTAfquej— Teresa Walker (@TeresaMWalker) August 30, 2019
Not only does Vrabel call Simmons’ progress “far, far further along than the average player would be”, but he goes as far as to say that they haven’t ruled out the idea that he could start the season on the 53-man roster. Now, it should be noted that Vrabel almost never rules anything out in these press conferences, but his comments as a whole certainly should be viewed as good news for Simmons’ availability this season.
Even if Simmons does start the season on PUP — as expected — this seems to suggest that the shorter end of that potential timeline is in play. Here are the PUP rules if you’re not familiar:
Players on the PUP list may not practice or play the first six weeks of the season. After the sixth week, the player must be allowed to return to practice, placed on injured reserved or released within five weeks.
If the player returns to practice, the team has three weeks to decide to place him on the active roster or on the injured reserve list.
If Simmons is as close as Vrabel makes him sound, we could see his debut as early as Week 7 against the Chargers if the team puts him on PUP. If they don’t, it would cost them a roster spot, but they’d be able to get their first round pick on the field as soon as he’s determined to be ready.
Obviously, the last thing the Titans should want is to rush him back and play him too early, but different bodies heal at varying speeds. We all remember Adrian Peterson’s famously fast return from ACL surgery. Could Simmons have a similar recovery? It’s possible and it would be a massive lift to an already good Titans defense.