COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A defensive line that was already banged up was close to another significant absence.
John Simon wasn't going to allow that to happen if he could help it.
The Ohio State senior was apparently close to missing Saturday's 35-28 win over California with a shoulder injury that hadn't previously been disclosed -- an issue that surprised even coach Urban Meyer with its severity after assuming all throughout practice this week that Simon would be ready to go.
"He almost didn't play, and I didn't know that because they told me all week he should be fine," Meyer said. "He didn't practice much because of a sore shoulder -- no ligament damage or anything like that.
"When you say sore, for most human beings they're probably up in the Ohio State Medical Center, but that's how tough he is."
Simon might have shown a softer side, though, after he battled his way though the game and picked up his first sack of the season.
The two-time captain offered an impassioned speech to the Buckeyes when it was all over in the locker room, only adding to his reputation as a leader respected by his teammates -- and his new coach.
"Mark that down, you can put a jersey up there or something that says John Simon because that's a grown-a-- man," Meyer said. "If we have another child, I want to name him Urban John Simon Meyer or something like that.
"That's how much I love the guy. I'm not ashamed to say I love him -- love that guy."
Other notable injuries: