ANDERSON – Ernie Sims promises intensity and believes the results will follow.
The Indianapolis Colts’ newest linebacker is trying to find a way into the lineup along with middle linebacker Gary Brackett and probable strong-side starter Pat Angerer. Sims will likely battle second-year linebacker Kavell Conner for a starting role as weak-side linebacker.
But Sims believes when he gets his chance, he’ll show why the Detroit Lions made him a first-round pick out of Florida State back in 2006.
“Speed and tenacity, play-making ability and just the heart of playing football – that’s what I bring to the table,” Sims said.
After playing four years with the Lions, Sims started 15 games with the Philadelphia Eagles last season with 48 solo tackles and two sacks. He had 100 tackles in each of his first three years with the Lions. He was signed to a one-year free-agent deal by the Colts who were looking to add some depth after losing Clint Session in free agency to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Sims, 26, is 6-foot, 230 pounds, the same height but five pounds lighter than Session.
“The first thing I told my agent is I wanted to get back to the Tampa-2 defense, with a team that an utilize my ability and talent,” Sims said. “Other teams are going in other directions and I understand that. This was an opportunity the Lord opened up where I can step in and make plays.”
While the Colts don’t pay a strict “Tampa-2” defense, they have been built that way since the days of Tony Dungy. One of Dungy’s former assistants, Rod Marinelli, drafted Sims at Detroit.
Sims said he also plans to embrace the Colts atmosphere. While he was on a winning team in Philadelphia last year, he suffered through some lean times with the Lions.
Asked what came to mind when he thought about the Colts, he sounded like any other fan.
“Peyton Manning,” he said. “When you think of the Colts you think of Peyton Manning and all the great athletes around him – Joseph Addai, Reggie Wayne, (Dallas) Clark. Great, great talent. I just want to add to the pool.”
Colts coach Jim Caldwell won’t put too much pressure on new free agents, including Sims, Tommie Harris and Jamaal Anderson, until they have had time to become comfortable within the Colts system.
“(The free agents are) guys that obviously have speed and power,” Caldwell said. “They just so happen to all be on the defensive side of the ball. But they’re guys that we really are excited about. We think we have a role for them to play within our system, and we’ll see how things go through camp.”
Sims felt he got off to a good start in Saturday’s controlled scrimmage.
“I haven’t hit anybody let alone touch anybody like that since January,” he said. “It always feels good to strap the pads up and knock the cobwebs out. Coach emphasized that he doesn’t want us tackling live, but it felt good to throw a shoulder and make some plays.”
Sims said he feels his career can be refreshed with the Colts.
“Everything happens for a reason,” he said. “That’s what coach Caldwell and I talked about. I actually took a visit here coming out of the draft. Unfortunately, I wasn’t drafted here, I was drafted to the Detroit Lions and I have learned a lot since then and it turned out I am back in the place I need to be. I am going to make the best out of it.”