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Colts Bolster Outside Linebacker Position With John Simon

Intro: After a quiet start to free agency, the Colts got involved Friday by signing former Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year John Simon to a three-year contract.


INDIANAPOLIS – In trying to rebuild their own defense, the Colts have tapped into the NFL's top ranked unit for an upgrade.

On Friday, the Colts signed John Simon, who has started 13 games the last two years for the Houston Texans.

Chris Ballard has stated endlessly that he wants to create competition on the roster and the signing of Simon will bring some of that to the outside linebacker position, an area of serious need this offseason.

"John possesses a strong balance between his pass rushing ability and run defense," general manager Chris Ballard said in a team release. "He's a physical linebacker who has matured on one of the top defensive units in the league over the past three seasons. John provides a significant upgrade to our defense and we're excited to welcome him to Indianapolis."

Simon, 26, was a 2013 fourth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens waived Simon just prior to the start of the 2014 season. Simon then latched on with the Texans and was a piece to the NFL's best defense.

At 6-1 and 260 pounds, Simon has been known as a run stopper but did have 8.5 sacks over the last two seasons.

Simon played right around half of the defensive snaps for the Texans this past season.

"He is kind of an unsung hero type of player," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said of Simon during the season. "He's a guy who personifies doing your job. He does a good job every week of going out and doing what he's coached to do. Vrabel does a good job of coaching him.

"John loves playing the game. He's in here all the time. He just loves being around it. He's tough."

In four NFL seasons, Simon has missed 19 games, including five last year due to a chest injury.

The Midwest is very familiar to Simon. He attended high school in Youngstown, Ohio and was the 2012 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year at Ohio State.

Bringing in bodies at the outside linebacker position this offseason was an absolute must for the Colts, especially when Erik Walden was not re-signed.

Akeem Ayers (2.0 sacks in 2016), Lavar Edwards (1.0 sack in 2016), Curt Maggitt (0 sacks in 2016) and Deiontrez Mount (0 sacks in 2016) are the Colts' only outside linebackers returning with NFL experience.

The Colts do have some familiarity with Simon. Defensive coordinator Ted Monachino was Simon's position coach in his rookie season of 2013 with Baltimore.

It's reportedly a three-year contract for Simon.

"John is a smart, physical player who will make an impact immediately on our team," head coach Chuck Pagano said in a team release. "We witnessed his success in Houston and now I look forward to seeing him wear the horseshoe. He will be a great addition."

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