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Haason Reddick Delivers Advice To Rookie Isaiah Simmons

Linebacker understands what teammate is going through

Linebacker Isaiah Simmons (48) celebrates with cornerback Byron Murphy as linebacker Haason Reddick (43) looks on after Simmons' overtime interception against the Seahawks last weekend.
Linebacker Isaiah Simmons (48) celebrates with cornerback Byron Murphy as linebacker Haason Reddick (43) looks on after Simmons' overtime interception against the Seahawks last weekend.

Haason Reddick sees the parallels and it's a reason he's reached out to rookie teammate Isaiah Simmons.

Simmons dropped into the national spotlight Sunday night with his overtime interception of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, setting up the game-winning field goal. But the inside linebacker also played a season-low five defensive snaps in the game as he tries to find a more expansive role in the defense.

Reddick, like Simmons a first-round pick, was also asked to play inside linebacker when he first arrived in Arizona. Reddick had a slow start as a rookie, and his eventual inability to transition was a big reason Simmons was a draft target this year.

Reddick, meanwhile, is flourishing with a move to outside linebacker, posting a team-best five sacks so far this season.

"I did actually talk to Isaiah with everything that is going on," Reddick said. "Same thing, very similar to what I went through. I just told him to keep his head up and don't let the outside noise get to him. I think that's the biggest thing. Being young and being on social media, you see what people are saying, you hear the noise.

"I told him to keep working, and when the opportunity comes, like on Sunday, be ready. And here he is. People are talking about, 'Oh, he's not getting enough reps.' But he comes in playing however many plays he played Sunday and makes a game-winning clutch pick to set our offense up."

Simmons has played 84 defensive snaps in seven games. He got in a season-high 21 in the blowout win over the Cowboys on "Monday Night Football," before his time on the field shrunk to five snaps against the Seahawks.

For Reddick, it has been important to have that support. He has praised his relationship with defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, and said fellow linebacker Chandler Jones has been important to Reddick's mental state during his own trials and tribulations during his stint with the Cardinals.

It's worked well. Reddick has filled in for the Jones, who is out for the season with a biceps injury.

"As far as people who have been consistently here throughout my career, Chan has been the biggest help," Reddick said. "Always throwing knowledge, even when I was going through what I was going through, keeping me uplifted, telling me not to worry about it – same thing I was telling Isaiah."

It's Reddick's version of paying it forward. Seeing Simmons celebrate after the game-saving pick was some positive reinforcement the rookie has been listening.  

"I want to see him do well," Reddick said. "I believe as long as he stays level-headed and keeps working, he'll be the player you all think he can be."

Images from the "Sunday Night Football overtime victory at State Farm Stadium.

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