Cleveland Browns safety
Sims collected an interception against Detroit quarterback Kellen Moore on the Lions’ last play of their 19-17 preseason-opening loss to the Browns at Ford Field Friday, Aug. 10 and returned one 38 yards for a touchdown against Graham Harrell and the Packers at Lambeau Field Aug. 16.
“I’m just trying to improve every day, show the coaches that I can play and work on my craft and do everything I need to do to make plays in practice so I could take it to the game,” Sims said. “I seem to find the ball. I just try and do what I need to do to make plays because I know my situation.
“I’m a free agent (signee). This is my second year. Last year, around this time, I didn’t really get an opportunity when I was at New York and I sat out most of the year. I just came here and showed them that I could really play, so I could make the team and help the team.”
According to Browns coach Pat Shurmur, Sims has “flashed” on the field and on film.
“He’s challenging,” Shurmur said. “He’s physical and he’s really made a huge amount of progress in the time we’ve been together, so I’m hopeful that it will continue here in the next two preseason games because that’s the kind of thing you want to see for a guy to make the team. He’s got to flash and he’s got to make plays. To his credit, he’s done that.”
Sims was signed by the New York Giants prior to last year’s training camp but was cut on the final day before rosters had to be trimmed down to the league-mandated 53-man limit. He later had a tryout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but spent just three days on their roster before being waived. He later signed with and spent the final five weeks of the 2011 season on the Browns’ practice squad.
“It hurt me because I know I’m good enough to play and they had me kind of questioning my ability to play just because I got cut and I knew I was doing a good job when I did get in,” Sims said of getting waived by the Giants. “That kind of put a heartache on me a little bit. When I got cut, I still worked out and trained so if I got a call, I’d be ready.”
Sims was ready when the Browns called and has remained on the ready ever since he signed on Nov. 29, 2011.
He has carried that desire to make plays into training camp this season and registered a pair of interceptions during Monday morning’s practice. He intercepted both
“In practice, I never really get interceptions,” Sims said before estimating he dropped six interceptions during his final year at Iowa State. “I had to develop as a practice player. I could count on one hand how many I got in my career in practice. I had to develop over the years to be a practice player so I could take that to the game. I always made plays in the game, showed up in the game. If I do better in practice, I do better in the game.
“I was practicing well out there. It changed my mentality to work harder than I’ve been working up to that point because I’ve always worked hard. It’s just like, ‘I’ve got to work harder; I’ve got to work 10 times harder.’”
Sims has not limited himself to making plays only on defense. The former running back at Butte Community College in Oroville, Calif., has worked on special teams and is willing to go wherever coaches ask him to play.
“You’ve got to play special teams, especially as a free agent,” Sims said. “You know you’ve got to get on every team and make plays. Once you get in on defense, you do what you’ve got to do to make the team.”