Titans veteran defensive tackle Simon announces retirement

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Defensive tackle Corey Simon retired from the NFL on Thursday after trying to resume his career with the Tennessee Titans, saying practice and games started wearing on his body again.

Simon, who was sidelined by Indianapolis last year on the non-football illness/injury list, confirmed that he had dealt with polyarthritis in 2006. He signed with Tennessee on Aug. 28 and played in four of the Titans' six games this season.

For Simon, recovering from each game and practice finally became too much for his 30-year-old body.

"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," he 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."

Simon, who won a national title at Florida State, was the sixth overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft by Philadelphia. He played five seasons with the Eagles and 13 games for Indianapolis in 2005, registering 32 career sacks and 312 tackles.

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.

Simon had one tackle and one quarterback pressure this season. The Titans had signed the 6-foot-2, 320-pound tackle looking to add depth to their defensive line.

But the unit that ranked last in the NFL in 2006 in yards allowed has been healthy this season. The Titans have had only one game when they've spent more than 30 minutes on defense, allowing tackle Albert Haynesworth to play more with Tony Brown and Randy Starks.

Fisher said Simon's spot on the roster will be filled, but thanks to a healthy defensive line, the Titans aren't in a hurry. Grady Jackson, released Tuesday by Atlanta, has been mentioned as a possible replacement.

"We're going to look and see what our options are," Fisher said.

Haynesworth said Simon, a Pro Bowl selection in 2003, will be remembered for the disruptive tackle he was with the Colts and in Philadelphia.

"He's been playing for a long time. This is what he loves. This is his job," Haynesworth said. "For him to come to that in his mind that he has to give it up, I mean, it's very hard. I don't know if I could do that."

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."

Simon said his immediate plans are 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."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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