ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Safety Justin Simmons has added a new award to his growing collection, as Pop Warner Little Scholars named him the recipient of the 2021 Pop Warner Little Scholars Inspiration to Youth Award on Thursday.
The organization, which is America's oldest and largest non-profit for youth football, has given out the award since 1993. Simmons is the second Bronco to win the award after Terrell Davis (1999), and he joins other winners including Kurt Warner, Wes Welker, Derrick Thomas and Junior Seau.
"Your accomplishments both on and off the field are a true inspiration and testament to your love and dedication to your sport and, most importantly, your community — both of which make you a model representative for young student-athletes throughout the nation," Pop Warner Little Scholars executive director Jon Butler wrote in a letter to Simmons.
In addition to his stellar play, Simmons has become an integral part of the Denver community in his years with the Broncos. He often contributes much of his free time to take part in team events with local organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, the Denver Rescue Mission and Food Bank of the Rockies, and in 2020, he and his wife, Taryn, founded their own charitable organization to help provide funding and leadership for youth in the Denver area.
"Like you, we value the development of the whole student-athlete and are the only youth sports organization that emphasizes a commitment to academics for our 325,0000 participants," Butler wrote. "Each year we honor more than 10,000 Pop Warner participants as All-American Scholars for achieving the highest levels of academic success and have granted more than $1 million in college scholarships to our young people."
As a passionate member of the community, Simmons has twice earned the Broncos' nomination for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award. With his second selection in 2020, Simmons joined just three other former Broncos — Champ Bailey, Rod Smith and Wesley Woodyard — in earning that distinction more than once on behalf of the team.
In 2020, Simmons took an active role helping lead the team's actions for social and racial justice. In addition to speaking at marches for racial justice in Denver and his hometown of Stuart, Florida, Simmons participated in the team's weekly "Power Hour" meetings dedicated to player-led social justice causes and was part of the panel in the NFL Foundation and Boys & Girls Club of America's Youth for Change Town Hall. He also helped lead a multi-week education and leadership program about racial inequality for children at the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club during the 2020 season.
After signing a new four-year contract with the team, Simmons said he and his wife have more planned for the future in Denver and in his hometown, too.
"There's a lot of things on both my wife and I's list," Simmons said in March. "The biggest thing that I'm looking forward to is being a steward of this and using it for the Kingdom. There are so many organizations out there that are doing such amazing work. We have our hands full here winning football games, but we would love to partner with organizations like IJM [International Justice Mission]. There are things that we have foundationally that we want to do. We're going to pour into doing that. Another thing that we've talked about doing is lifting up some of the not-so-good parts of our community back at home and building some places where kids can get jobs a little bit easier, and even some parents can get jobs a litter bit easier. [Making things] a little more affordable. We have a bunch of ideas that we have in place in terms of community outreach work and things of that nature that I think are going to be special."