Auburn, Alabama – Jaylen Simpson He fears the worst: that it will never be Slime Time again.
Simpson grew attached to his green mouthpiece. He ordered it from Amazon prior to this season and loves how it stands out from the rest of the Auburn defensive tackle. It’s convenient. He helped the red-shirt youngster have a solid season – he entered Saturday starting his third consecutive game at safety due to injuries.
“My green tongue is my favorite,” Simpson told Auburn Undercover after the Tigers’ 41-17 win over Western Kentucky. “When I put on the green muzzle, it means I’m in Slime Time.”
So when an Auburn student stole Simpson’s helmet, he was devastated—less about the helmet, and more about his favorite green accessory.
“I thought I wasn’t going to get that mouthpiece back,” Simpson said. They don’t sell it in regular stores; You have to order in particular. That’s really what I wanted to get back to.”
The subject of a mini-investigation last week — led by Auburn Undercover recruiting reporter Christian Clemente on social media — Simpson’s helmet was stolen after Auburn’s win over Texas A&M last Saturday. When the Tigers rushed into the student section, several players took off their helmets and jumped into the stands.
Half of the team went into the main student section in the corner of the field, and the others were jammed into the bleachers behind southbound. Simpson sat in the front row with his teammate defensively DJ James. They took selfies and danced with the Auburn students, while Jordan Hare Stadium glowed with flashing orange and blue lights.
When the party settled down, Simpson jumped from the stands and jogged to where he left his helmet. He went.
“I sat it next to a lot of helmets, and somehow it turned out to be missing,” Simpson said.
Simpson took to Instagram to request that his helmet be returned. Over the next 24 hours, he was inundated with messages—some from fellow students he knew, others offering anonymous advice about the helmet’s whereabouts.
“I’ve had a lot of people (direct message) me say they saw someone wearing it at the student center,” Simpson said. “People have sent me pictures of other people with my helmet on. And I’m like, ‘Okay, where are they?’”
Clemente tweeted a video emailed to him anonymously from his roommate, which shows Simpson’s helmet—and that unmistakable green mouthpiece—as well as the pylon, which was also stolen after the game.
– Christian Clemente (@CClemente247) November 15, 2022
Naturally, Auburn’s equipment team had Simpson ready to take on Western Kentucky regardless. But it wasn’t going to be a muddy time.
“They could have easily given me another helmet,” Simpson said. “But man, I wanted mine.”
Later in the week, Simpson received an Instagram direct message from an empty account — no name, no picture. The thief told Simpson that he had thrown his helmet near the Auburn football complex. The pylon was also returned to the Auburn ground crew.
“He wanted to be anonymous, I think,” Simpson said. “I don’t know who it was.”
But Simpson, who rarely has a smile off his face, doesn’t hold grudges. After all, it was, in fact, Slime Time on Saturday night.
Simpson had his second interception of the season early in the third quarter, and Auburn led with three tackles on the day. The Tigers stifled one of the best passing offenses in college football, holding Western Kentucky with a season-low completion rate and just 5.4 yards per attempt.
So Simpson looked on the bright side: Perhaps it was the “helmet gate” that gave him a boost.
“Look, without him touching the helmet, I wouldn’t have had that pick,” Simpson said. “So whatever you are, thanks man.”
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