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Mile High Morning: Justin Simmons discusses his love of being a girl dad after welcoming second daughter 

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The Lead

Safety Justin Simmons added a new member to his family's team last weekend, as he and his wife Taryn welcomed a new baby girl. Shae Simmons is Justin and Taryn's second daughter, along with big sister Laney Rae Simmons.

On Wednesday, Simmons spoke about his family's new addition, and the blessing of being a girl dad.

"Being a girl dad is the best," Simmons said with a smile.

Simmons revealed that, while he of course always loved his daughter Laney, he really began to appreciate being a girl dad thanks to his childhood sports idol, NBA legend Kobe Bryant. Bryant, who passed away in 2020, had five daughters.

"I loved my daughter before the unfortunate passing of Kobe," Simmons said, "but then I think just diving into his perspective — you know, people were asking him 'well what about a boy?'"

During Bryant's career, he was consistently questioned about whether or not he would have a son to carry on his legendary athletic talents. But Bryant remained a proud girl dad, passing on his love of basketball to his daughters instead. Simmons says he learned just how special a father-daughter relationship was from watching Bryant.

"There's something about investing as a dad, as a man, into your daughter's life that is just such a special bond," Simmons said. "It's something that is so sacred."

Now that he has two daughters, Simmons is twice as proud to be a girl dad. He beamed from ear-to-ear on Wednesday as he discussed his growing family.

"I'm just blessed beyond measure that I have two little ones now," Simmons said. "I'm just thankful, and I'm hoping they can be half the woman that their mom is and they'll be okay."

Below the Fold

Two young stars earn high praise from ESPN's NFL rookie rankings through Week 7. Broncos first-round selection CB Pat Surtain II and second-round pick RB Javonte Williams have been in the top of nearly every rookie ranking through the first seven weeks of the season, and ESPN's evaluation is no exception.

Of ESPN's top 10 ranked rookies, Surtain falls at No. 4.

"Surtain has played 86% of the team's defensive snaps, been tasked with a handful of WR1s and played with such competitiveness from down to down that when Ronald Darby came off injured reserve, it was veteran Kyle Fuller who went to the bench," ESPN's Jeff Legwold wrote. "Surtain does need to clean up some of his tackling in the run game, but opposing quarterbacks have consistently been frustrated far more often than not when they've tried to test him."

While he fell just outside of ESPN's top 10 rookies, Williams was still high on the list.

"Williams, who has 320 rushing yards this season, is a broken-tackle festival waiting to happen," Legwold wrote. "We saw it recently against the Ravens, when six different Baltimore players tried to tackle Williams before he eventually was pulled to the ground. He has shown potential in the passing game, as well, with 122 yards on 20 catches."

Surtain and Williams have both shown so far this season that they are worthy of their high selections in this year's draft. As their experience grows with each passing week, both Surtain and Williams look more and more like they could be a big part of Denver's team for seasons to come.

The Unclassifieds

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