Ernie Sims used to be a Lion. The ninth overall pick of the Detroit Lions in 2006, Sims still pictures himself as a lion.
The Cowboys linebacker was involved in a throw-down with teammate Lance Dunbar during Tuesday's practice. It was the first fight of camp. Dunbar said Tuesday that he was tired of Sims throwing him to the ground and finally had enough.
"In Detroit, it was like that almost every day, every week," Sims said. "It’s training camp. That’s the reason I asked my wife to come out here, so I can at least see my wife, so I don’t have to see these men all the time. Bumbled up and pushing men all the time, I mean you get tired of that after a while. Running. People yelling at you. It’s just the way it is. You just come out here and you just compete. That’s what I’m trying to do – come out here and compete. I’m trying to earn my position on this team. I’m trying to get me a starting job. I’m trying to do everything. But first and foremost, I’m trying to take care of my family, and that’s what I’ve got to do."
Sims got a stern lecture from defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin after the melee with Dunbar and vows not to do it again.
"He asked me to look into his eyes and pretty much just told me, 'You’re having a great, great preseason, and we just don’t need that right now,' talking about throwing him to the ground and what not," Sims said. "I’m a good player. I’m just going to go out here and do what I’ve got to do to make this team. So if coach asks me not to throw him to the ground, I’m going to keep running hard; I’m going to keep running to the ball; I’m going to keep trying to make a difference, but if a coach asks me not to do it, I’m not going to do it."
Linebacker Alex Albright wasn't surprised to see it from Sims. He smiled when he said everything makes Sims mad.
"Ernie always plays with a chip on his shoulder," Albright said. "I think that’s why he plays as hard and as fast as he does. No matter if he’s been eight years in the league or a first-round pick, he always feels like there’s something to prove. And you can see it. He just hits that extra gear and hits people hard. And he doesn’t really care because he likes doing it."Sims said he will apologize to Dunbar.
"If I was a running back, I would have done the same thing," Sims said. "I’m not knocking him. The play before that I didn’t throw him down like I did the last time. But the first time it was kind of like I went to go get the strip, and I just kind of nonchalantly slung him down a little bit. What Dunbar did, I’m not mad at him for doing that.
"It’s like two males in the wild. If a male comes and strikes at you, you’re going to strike back. We’re playing football. It’s a physical sport. I look at it as animals in the wild. It’s domination. That’s what it’s all about. That’s how I look at it."
Which brings us to the lion. Sims was asked what animal he patterned his game after. He said his nickname is "Gator" and his Cowboys' teammates called him "Pit Bull" last year. But he likes "Lion."
"Kind of ironic I played for the Lions," Sims said. "I like how dominant he is and taking care of his pride. That’s how I look at it, now that I've got a family. I’ve got a wife. I’ve got a 2-year-old son. That’s how I approach every day: I’ve got to take care of my family."
-- Charean Williams