You read that headline correctly, and no, they didn’t sign a college player prior to the 2021 NFL Draft.
The story you are about to read is one which is crazy enough to happen every now an again. An opportunity where a player is in the right place, at the right time and cashes in on that opportunity.
While NFL coaches and scouts invaded the University of Georgia for the university’s pro day, the Pittsburgh Steelers had their eyes on anyone participating, and that included those who weren’t currently enrolled in college.
During the workout, Tyler Simmons, former Georgia wide receiver who spent a small portion of 2020 on the Houston Texans’ practice squad, was there working out. During the workout he caught the eye of Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert.
Take a look at the brief story below via Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network:
Many players from the 2020 draft class didn’t get a fair shake with no offseason, preseason, etc. A second chance in Pittsburgh for WR Tyler Simmons, who was briefly on the #Texans practice squad last season. https://t.co/Oa9kLZ1Apg— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 19, 2021
This isn’t to suggest Simmons will make the Steelers’ roster, or even find a spot on the practice squad, but his ability to prove what he can do was enough for the Steelers to give him a shot.
Here is some background on Simmons, via the Houston Texans’ official website when they added him to their practice squad:
Hometown: Powder Springs, Georgia
6-0, 201 pounds
In his four-year career at Georgia, Simmons played in 48 games and caught 35 passes for 438 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 220 yards on 17 carries, scoring two touchdowns.
In 2019, Simmons played in all 14 games, with 12 starts and finished with 21 catches for 255 yards, 12 rushes for 89 yards and nine punt returns for 143 yards.
Simmons was a 2019 co-winner of Kevin Butler Special Teams MVP, given at Georgia’s post-season awards gala. He was part of a senior class that won 44 games, tied for most in school history.
In 2018, he was one of three winners of the team’s Charley Trippi Award awarded to the most versatile player. Simmons recorded 269 all-purpose yards that season, including rushing for a career-high 131 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 26.2 yards per attempt.
Simmons is one of 10 Bulldogs that will be NFL rookies this season, including running back D’Andre Swift (Detroit Lions) and quarterback Jake Fromm (Buffalo Bills).
In the Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl against Baylor, Simmons caught four passes for 47 yards and rushed for 22 yards on three carries for the Bulldogs.
Another feel good story as the Steelers prepare for the rest of free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft. Be sure BTSC is your one-stop-shop for all things black and gold!