As training camp looms over the horizon, our nuggets series is nearly over. Today, we focus on linebacker Ernie Sims, the standout former first-round pick who was acquired just prior to the NFL Draft.
1. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott offered some high praise for Sims when he called the fifth-year linebacker a "shark in the water." Sims is actually an animal enthusiast with over 50 different kinds of pets, including two sharks — a horn shark and a blacktip that he named ""Jaws."" He also has a monkey, a kinkajou named Sidney. In regards to his new coordinator's comment, Sims said, "Any compliment like that you have to be thankful for. I'm still learning right now. One thing I'm doing that God blessed me with is running to the ball with my speed. Whenever I see ball, I go get ball. That's my motto. My whole career I was taught speed, speed, speed. In this defense, playing the WILL (weakside) linebacker position, that's what it enables me to do."
2. Even though he spent his first four seasons in Detroit, Sims was very much accustomed to winning before the start of his NFL career. He won a pair of ACC championships with defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley at Florida State. And Sims won four, yes four, high school state championships in Florida. Of being with a winning NFL organization, Sims said, "It just feels good to be back to what I'm used to, what I'm accustomed to — winning. My whole life that's what I was used to. Being back in this environment, my career, my play is going to get even higher."
3. Sims describes his game as quickness and speed. "I'm not the biggest linebacker, but I feel very explosive and I feel very quick and fast," Sims said. "When offensive linemen try to get their hands on me, I've been working on it for years, not to let them get their hands on me. It will be game over if they get their hands on me. I've been working hard on shedding blocks and getting to the ball as fast as I can." It's no surprise since Ernie's mother, Alice, was an All-American sprinter and his father, Ernie, also played under Bobby Bowden at Florida State as a tailback.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 9:00 a.m., July 24