Simon laments end of tenure with Ravens

OWINGS MILLS -- Seven years after his arrival in Baltimore, former Ravens running backs coach Matt Simon departed the organization Tuesday with regrets along with his Super Bowl ring. The veteran assistant requested to be released from the final year of his contract after not being given consideration for the offensive coordinator position if Jim Fassel departs for another NFL head coaching job.

 Ravens coach Brian Billick decided last year that quarterbacks coach Rick Neuheisel would succeed Fassel, who interviewed with Kansas City Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson late Tuesday night in Baltimore.

"It's time for me to move on," said Simon, who opted out on the same day the team fired receivers coach David Shaw, special teams coach Gary Zauner, secondary coach Johnnie Lynn along with assistant special teams coach and former Ravens player Bennie Thompson "I can only do so much. I just regret that I wasn't given a chance to show what I can do.

"That's what's really disappointing. I had more to give, but I was never allowed to demonstrate that."

Simon said he has already received a few coaching offers, but declined to specify where he might wind up.

"Pray for me and my family that I make the right decision on where to go," said Simon, a former University of Washington assistant, New Mexico offensive coordinator and University of North Texas head coach. "This is a decision I've been planning for the last two months to leave, and I feel that this is the right thing for me and my family at this time."

Simon joined the Ravens' staff in 1999 as one of Billick's first hires. In his second season when they won the Super Bowl, the Ravens set a team rushing record with 2,199 yards to finish fifth in the NFL.

In 2003, running back Jamal Lewis gained the second-most rushing yards in league history by rushing for 2,066 yards and was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year. The Ravens had the top-ranked rushing offense in the league.

In 2004, Baltimore finished ninth in rushing. However, the Ravens dipped to 21st in rushing with 100.3 yards per contest for a franchise-low in 2005. The team finished 6-10 as Lewis gained a career-worst 906 yards and three touchdowns following a federal prison stint and ankle surgery.

"Judge me by my work," Simon said. "I just wish I had gotten the chance to do more here, but I'm excited about the future."

NOTES: General manager Ozzie Newsome indicated that the Chiefs are the only team so far to request permission to interview Fassel. Fassel has been mentioned as a potential candidate for several coaching positions, including the Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. … Neuheisel has been rumored to be a possible long-shot option for Raiders owner Al Davis. … Linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald will remain with the team after being offered a new contract after his one-year deal expired. … The Ravens are expected to hire former Vikings receivers coach Wes Chandler.
 

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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