The NFL Combine represents a chance for prospects to work out in front of pro scouts and speak with teams ahead of the NFL Draft, but one of this year’s top prospects won’t be in attendance.
According to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Mississippi State DL Jeffrey Simmons was not invited to the combine; citing the NFL’s policy about past issues involving violence.
Mississippi State DT Jeffery Simmons – a potential top-10 pick – and Colorado State WR Preston Williams have been informed they won’t be invited to the scouting combine because they don’t meet the criteria under the NFL’s policy about past issues involving violence, sources say.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 31, 2019
In 2016, Simmons pled no contest to simple assault and was found guilty of malicious mischief after he was seen punching a woman on the ground in a viral video. He arrived in Starkville in the fall of that year and was suspended for the team’s first game.
In a recent letter written by Simmons on hailstate.com, the Macon, Mississippi native acknowledged that he was lucky to get a second chance.
“Not everyone gets a second chance, but I am so grateful I did,” he wrote.
On the field, Simmons was one of the most productive defensive lineman in the country over the past several years. Alongside fellow 1st round prospect Montez Sweat, Simmons anchored what was arguably the nation’s toughest defensive line in 2018, and he led the team with 14.5 tackles for a loss.
It remains to be seen if Simmons’ production on the field will outweigh the red flag in his past in the eyes of NFL front offices.
The combine begins on February 26th, and the draft begins in late April.