STUART — Support has always followed former Martin County football star and Denver Broncos cornerstone Justin Simmons on his path to the pros.
From his time going through the school system in Martin County to Boston College and to the Rocky Mountains where the 29-year old has flourished as one of the NFL's top safeties, Simmons has never shied away to give credit to the people around him helping his stature as a leader on and off the field.
On Saturday at South Fork High School, Simmons had the support of eight Broncos' teammates that made the trip to the Treasure Coast to help him run his second free football camp through the Justin Simmons Foundation.
For Simmons and his Denver teammates, the upcoming NFL season will be one full of optimism as Super Bowl-winning head coach Sean Payton will enter his first season at the helm of the Broncos after not coaching in 2022.
Payton brought in former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph to run the defense and Simmons is very excited to work under someone he played for and with the pedigree Payton brings to the table as a winner.
"It's been a really good offseason, we're kind of working in silence and Sean likes it that way," Simmons said. "It's been fun, there's a lot of new because there's a lot of things coming in and doing because he's used to having it a certain way doing it for a long time. There's a lot of expectations for us and those will all play out when we get to Week 1 to play the (Las Vegas) Raiders."
Simmons had Pat Surtain II, Caden Sterns, Essang Bassey, Damarri Mathis, P.J. Locke, Delonte Hood, Ja'Quan McMillan, all members of the Broncos' secondary, along with linebacker Aaron Patrick assisting South Fork and Martin County High School coaches run over 200 kids through drills and activities.
Surtain returned to help Simmons after coming to work the camp last season and pointed to the bond that he has had with his teammate from the moment he joined the Broncos in 2021 as a first-round draft pick as to why he wanted to again be a part of giving back to the community again.
"We established that brotherhood from day one," Surtain said. "We set the standard for connecting, coming together as one and supporting each other whether its foundations or camps. We always talk about brotherhood off the field, on the field and we always put that at a high level."
The accolades that Simmons has achieved entering his eighth season on the field continued to add up as he was named Second Team All-Pro for the third time in his career last year even missing five games.
Simmons had a career-high six interceptions in his 12 games that tied the league lead to go along with 69 tackles and seven pass breakups.
A three-time Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, Simmons has always tried to return to his hometown and inspire kids along with the number of events he has put together in Denver.
South Fork head coach Antwan Blatch had the opportunity to be Simmons' defensive coordinator for his final two years of high school at Martin County and has long admired the work Simmons has done to be an inspiration for wave after wave of kids on the Treasure Coast.
"To have a role model such as Justin to actually walk the path, be in the school system they were in, come through these schools and have as much success as he's had, it's tremendous for the community, for him personally and for the kids," Blatch said. "The kids can say, hey, if he can do it, I can do it too. It's something for them to shoot for."
Simmons expressed the gratitude of his teammates to take time of their summer in the middle of OTAs where the Broncos finished the second of three sessions on Thursday before they return to Denver on June 5.
Having earned the respect and admiration of his peers for them to support his cause and bring a day of fun to the Treasure Coast meant the world to Simmons with what his foundation strives for to give back.
"It's means absolutely everything," Simmons said. "It's one thing to come back every year, just me but to have the support from my teammates, they're giving up their weekend, some of them have family, kids, they have other things they could be doing.
"Giving up their weekend, not a bad gig to come down to South Florida, but giving up their weekend to come hang out and to give back to the kids, I mean if you looked around today, obviously there's some younger kids who are just learning the things that are going on but there were some older kids here that really wanted to learn the basics and the fundamentals of the game and you've got guys out here teaching press technique, how to move your feet properly, the things that we do in practice every day. So, you're getting real-life, pro coaching and I think that's really cool of them to do that."
This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Justin Simmons, Denver Broncos' fresh start include hometown football camp