Former Tennessee linebacker Kevin Simon is seeing the game of football from yet another angle as a scout with the Dallas Cowboys.
"Those drills at the NFL combine might look nice, but they're not football,'' Simon said on the New Sentinel's Sports Page radio show. "You get a sense of what kind of athlete they are, but there's a lot more intangibles than benching 225 pounds 40 times or running a 40 in 4.4 (seconds).
"It's like making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich: If you just had the peanut butter, or just the jelly, it wouldn't be complete,'' he said. "You have to evaluate a player's film, the combine, the numbers and the person, and you put them all together.''
The 25-year-old Simon has put it all together in his life after an up-and-down career filled with injuries and different job assignments.
From a football experience perspective, he's certainly well-rounded.
Prior to his standout seasons as a leading tackler at Tennessee, Simon also played running back for the No. 1 high school team in the nation at Concord (Calif.) De La Salle. That was in addition to earning USA Today defensive player of the year honors.
Tennessee fans will remember Simon suffered a severe knee injuries playing in the inaugural U.S. Army All-Star game in 2001, and two more career-threatening injuries, breaking his ankle in 2002 and injuring his other knee at the start of the 2004 season.
Simon was drafted by the Washington Redskins in 2006 but eventually released as a result of a sports hernia.
The injuries were character builders of sorts, as Simon discovered who he is outside of his star football persona.
UT liked the way he grew enough that former coach Phillip Fulmer hired him to work in the weight room after his release from the Redskins. Simon went on to work in the recruiting office and as a graduate assistant coach with the Vols the past two seasons.
When Fulmer was fired, Simon was one of the few who kept their jobs and worked with coach Lane Kiffin for seven weeks.
Simon said he has no hard feelings about being let go.
"I really liked his whole approach, it was all business, '' Simon said. "He's gonna do it his way, and he's gonna be successful. What you see from him is who he is - not a facade.''
Simon, who is from the Bay Area in Northern California, said Kiffin was everything he expected and more.
"I know a good bit of people that work with the Raiders organization and in the Bay Area that have come across him or know him,'' Simon said. "What everyone told me about him is true: He works his butt off from crack of the morning to dusk. He says he's gonna outwork everyone, and he does.''
Simon said he's very impressed with Kiffin's staff, and he sees success in the immediate future.
"I don't think they'll lose more than four games,'' Simon said Sunday. "They could play in the (SEC) championship game, and if they don't, I definitely think they'll have a lot to say about who does.''