Former Mooney, OSU star John Simon among Valley natives cut by NFL teams


Former Ohio State DE

John Simon cut by Colts

Staff report

Cardinal Mooney High School graduate John Simon is seeking his fourth NFL team in six seasons.

The Indianapolis Colts released Simon on Saturday, saving $3 million in salary.

Simon is one of several NFL hopefuls with ties to the Mahoning Valley who were released as the 32 teams went from 95 players to 53.

In the 2017 offseason, Simon, then a linebacker, signed a three-year, $13.5 million contract. The pact contained $6 million in guarantees.

In the Colts’ 3-4 scheme, Simon started nine games at outside linebacker before suffering a neck injury that ended his season. He had three sacks plus a pick six.

After the season, the Colts fired head coach Chuck Pagano and replaced him with Frank Reich, the offensive coordinator for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

Reich hired Matt Eberflus, formerly the Dallas Cowboys linebacker coach, as the Colts’ new defensive coordinator. The Colts shifted to a 4-3 defense and Simon spent the offseason transitioning to defensive end, the position he played at Ohio State.

In June, Simon participated in the Inspiring Minds benefit golf outing at Avalon Lakes in Howland and said he was 100-percent recovered from his injury.

In 2013, the former Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round.

After one season with the Ravens, Simon signed with the Houston Texans. He started 13 games for the Texans over the next three seasons.

Also Saturday, the Pittsburgh Steelers released running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, The Vindicator’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2008 when he played for Liberty High School.

Toussaint spent three seasons with the Steelers after playing in 2014 with the Ravens.

Last year, Toussaint was waived by the Steelers after training camp then joined their practice squad. He was activated on Nov. 25 and played in the final six games of the regular season, mostly as a kick returner. He had six carries for 25 yards.

Also released by the Steelers was Damon Patterson, a former Youngstown State University wide receiver.

Kevin Rader, a former YSU tight end, and running back LeShun Daniels (Warren Harding) were cut by the Green Bay Packers while former YSU linebacker Avery Moss was released by the New York Giants.

The Washington Redskins cut running back De’Veon Smith (Howland High School).

Former YSU cornerback David Rivers spent time in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ training camp, but was cut on Aug. 14.

Two former YSU players are in the NFL — defensive end Derek Rivers of the New England Patriots and cornerback Kenneth Durden of the Tennessee Titans.

Durden, who enter the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2016, spent time on the practice squads for the Oakland Raiders, Titans and Giants before rejoining the Titans this fall.

Rivers was a third-round draft pick in 2017. He spent the previous season on injured reserve.

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