On Saturday evening, Ravens coach John Harbaugh was asked about fourth-round draft pick John Simon, who was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2012. Harbaugh raved about Simon’s attitude and work ethic.
“I think Urban Meyer has a thing on YouTube -- have you seen it? -- where he talks about John Simon,” Harbaugh said, referencing Meyer’s news conference after his Ohio State team narrowly defeated California, 35-28, this past September. “It’s worth pulling up and taking a look at it. It probably says it all.”
That afternoon, Simon, who was a defensive end for the Buckeyes but will play outside linebacker for the Ravens, was barely able to play because of a shoulder injury. But he suited up, made one tackle and recorded a sack. After the win, the senior captain delivered an emotional speech for the Buckeyes, who went undefeated.
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Moments later, Meyer went up to the podium for his postgame news conference and raved about Simon for more than a minute.
“John Simon played hurt today, kind of just gave a little emotional speech in there. He had a sore shoulder,” Meyer said. “They kept telling me all week that he should be fine, should be fine, should be fine and it just didn’t heal as fast as we had hoped. And boy, he just lost it in the locker room as far as sharing and opening up his soul for the team. I’ve done this for a long time, and he’s as good as you…
“Mark that down,” he continued. “I don’t know, can you put a jersey up there or something that says John Simon? Because that’s a grown-[expletive] man, excuse my language. That's a guy. If we have another child, I want to name him Urban John Simon Meyer or something like that.
“I can’t wait for that headline. But that’s how much I love that guy. I love him. I love that guy. Man. He makes all of us look in the mirror and say, ‘Are we doing enough for our team?’ That guy, what he just did in there, not to give you too much of what went on there, am I doing enough? And I say as the coaching staff, are we doing as much as he’s doing? No. We’ve got to do more. We’ve got to do more,” he said.
Despite the loss of veterans like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, Simon won’t need to be a leader for the Ravens right away. But it’s clear the Ravens wanted to draft high-character players, and based on Meyer’s post-game praise, it sure sounds like Simon fits the bill.