Broncos, S Justin Simmons to part ways after eight seasons

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Following eight impactful seasons in Denver, safety Justin Simmons’ time as a Bronco will come to a close.

Denver and Simmons will part ways, as the Broncos announced Thursday they will release him.

“Justin Simmons’ impact as a Denver Bronco extends far beyond his exceptional play during eight seasons with our organization,” the Broncos said in a statement. “In addition to growing into an All-Pro and team captain, Justin became our perennial Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year devoted to uplifting others and using his influence for positive change. Whether it was in Denver or his hometown of Stuart, Florida, Justin inspired and mentored countless youth while providing unwavering support to the community. The hundreds of hours he spent at the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club will be as much a part of Justin’s legacy with the Broncos as his leadership, dependability and many interceptions.
“Justin will always be a Bronco, and we thank him for the outstanding manner in which he represented our organization on and off the field. We wish Justin, his wife Taryn, and their children Laney, Shae and Kyler the very best in the future.”

A compensatory third-round pick in 2016, Simmons grew into one of the best safeties in the NFL and a consistent recipient of all-league honors.

During nearly a decade in Denver, Simmons earned two Pro Bowl nods, was named a four-time Associated Press second-team All-Pro and earned an NFL Top 100 selection on three occasions.

Simmons tied for the NFL lead in interceptions in 2022 and posted at least three interceptions in each of the last six seasons, which made him the only NFL player to accomplish that feat during that span. For his impressive 2022 season, Simmons was named the inaugural winner of the Demaryius Thomas Team MVP award, as presented by the Pro Football Writers of America Denver chapter.

The Boston College product started all 105 games in which he appeared over his final seven seasons in Denver and played 118 total contests for the Broncos. He totaled 30 interceptions — which is tied for seventh in franchise history — and 64 passes defensed during his career in Denver. He also posted five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, 604 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and a defensive touchdown.

Simmons posted a number of memorable plays in the orange and blue, including game-winning interceptions against the Raiders in 2017, the Dolphins in 2020 and the Commanders in 2021. Perhaps his most athletically impressive play came in his rookie season, as he leaped over the line of scrimmage to block an extra point and set up a game-winning score against the Saints in 2016. He also recorded a game-sealing interception in a streak-ending win against the Chiefs in 2023, which helped earn him AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career.

Simmons was also the Broncos’ defensive iron man; from 2018-2021, he did not miss a game — and he played more than 3,200 consecutive snaps from the start of 2018 until the early weeks of the 2021 season.

The longest-tenured Bronco, though, saw his impact extend far beyond statistical milestones. In addition to being a multi-year captain, Simmons was a three-time nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award, which is considered the NFL’s most prestigious honor. He was just the second Bronco to be nominated three times for the award, and he was the first Broncos player to ever be named the nominee in back-to-back years.

A four-time winner of the Broncos’ Community Ambassador award, Simmons was particularly involved in youth development and social justice initiatives. He has been a strong supporter of the now annual March for Peace in Denver, and he has worked with the Justin Simmons Foundation to provide hunger relief and support for educational initiatives — among other focus areas. In his final season in Denver, Simmons participated in more than 40 community service opportunities, worked with the team’s leadership program in partnership with RISE and the Broncos’ Boys & Girls Club and provided grants to support the growth of girls’ high school flag football.

Simmons also has won the Darrent Williams Good Guy award — presented by Denver’s PFWA chapter to a player for his cooperation and honesty with the media — on three occasions.

After eight seasons, the Broncos’ longtime on-field leader and off-field champion leaves an indelible legacy in Denver.

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