INDIANAPOLIS – When Chris Ballard describes his ideal free agent, the intangibles necessary for a cohesive locker room are not lost on the new general manager.
Those are qualities that John Simon is bringing to Indianapolis.
Listen to Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien describe Simon, a guy who helped the Texans become one of the league's top defense over the last three seasons.
"He is kind of an unsung hero type of player," 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.
"John loves playing the game. He's in here all the time. He just loves being around it. He's tough."
How does Simon describe himself?
"Just a grinder," the 26-year-old Simon says. "I try to do everything the right way. I'm going to play 60 minutes plus. I'm a great locker room guy. I will give you everything I have on a daily basis.
"I'll bring a toughness and nastiness to the defense."
And then there's Ballard nodding his head at those descriptions.
"John possesses a strong balance between his pass rushing ability and run defense," Ballard says.
"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."
With Houston, Simon primarily played the SAM (strongside) outside linebacker spot in their 3-4 scheme.
Simon, who had 8.5 sacks in 13 starts the last two seasons, has seen the Colts up close two times for each of the last three years.
In Simon coming to a team he's somewhat familiar with, this part of the United States is also close to home for him.
Growing up in Youngstown, Ohio, Simon believes his style of play on the field has some blue-collar nature reminiscent of the Midwest culture.
"I'm an Ohio boy," Simon says, "so to get back up to this part of the country feels good."
And the possibility of seeing his playing time expand is also intriguing.
"I'm looking forward to playing a larger role for an organization," Simon says of his third NFL home.
"There's a great foundation here and I'm looking forward to filling in and being a part of it."
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