Defensive tackle Simon retires after four game stint with Tennessee in '07

Updated: October 25, 2007, 5:04 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

With his body apparently unwilling to cooperate with his return to the NFL after a year of inactivity, Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Corey Simon has decided to retire.

Corey Simon

Simon

Simon, 30, signed a one-year, $720,000 contract with the Titans in late August, hoping to resume his career after the Indianapolis Colts had released him three weeks earlier. But he played in only four games in Tennessee, recording one tackle as a backup, and felt that he could no longer withstand the physical demands.

"He said his mind was still into it, and his spirit wanted to continue, but his body simply ached too much to keep going," agent Roosevelt Barnes said. "It's too bad, because he really did want to play again."

Signed by Indianapolis to a five-year, $30 million contract in the summer of 2005 after the Philadelphia Eagles rescinded the franchise tag they put on him earlier that spring, Simon played 13 games for the Colts before suffering a knee injury.

He missed much of the offseason program in the spring of 2006 and then was placed on the non-football injury list with what Colts' officials described as polyarthritis, and didn't play at all in 2006.

"It's just been a struggle, especially the last couple weeks, just getting my body to recover after every practice to go out there and do it,'' Simon said. "I hurt every day. This is something I love to do, and I tried to push it as long as I could.

"My body was just telling me it's time to let it go and move onto something else."

Coach Jeff Fisher said Simon met with him Wednesday to discuss the decision, and the veteran would be missed.

"I've got kind of a fond place in my heart for Corey considering what he's been through the past couple years and what he brought to this team, the locker room and special teams and the defensive line," Fisher said.

His teammates didn't know Simon had been contemplating retirement.

"A lot of people think your rookie season is your toughest one, the first one in the game," linebacker David Thornton said. "Probably that season of walking away from the game is even tougher."

The Colts, who paid Simon more than $14 million in bonuses and salaries, and who were unsuccessful in a grievance aimed at recouping part of that investment, released him on Aug. 4, only a week into training camp.

Simon insisted he wanted to resume his career, drew interest from several clubs, and eventually signed with the Titans, who were seeking to add a veteran to their defensive tackle rotation.

At the time, Simon was excited about joining the Titans because it afforded him a chance to face the Colts twice a year in divisional play. Simon saw limited action in the Titans' home loss to the Colts on Sept. 16, but was not credited with any tackles.

A former Florida State standout, Simon was the Eagles' first-round selection in the 2000 draft, the sixth player chosen overall that year. In 95 games, he recorded 246 tackles, 32 sacks, 14 passes defensed, nine forced fumbles and three recoveries. His resume includes one Pro Bowl appearance.

Simon said his immediate plans were to remain in Nashville with his family. He is part-owner of an insurance company in Florida but said he wasn't yet ready for an office job.

He hopes he'll find a way to deal with his polyarthritis.

"I hope we can get this thing figured out and get it under wraps and move forward with my life," Simon said. "I'd hate to have to deal with this the rest of my life."

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.