Aug 102010

August 10 Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Bob Ford

“In a way, you can’t really blame Ernie Sims for getting excited again about playing football and hitting people, although that might not be an opinion shared by every member of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Sims, a newcomer to the team and the presumptive starter at weakside linebacker this season, was at it again Monday on the crackling griddle of football fields at Lehigh University.

For not quite the first time during training camp, Sims popped a teammate pretty hard in a situation that didn’t necessarily call for it. There was some grumbling from the offense and some minor tut-tutting from the coaches, but Sims was remarkably unbothered about carrying out one of the favorite parts of his job description.

“Football is a physical sport, the way I see it. Playing defense you’ve got to take whatever you can get,” Sims said. “If I was coaching defense, I might have to step up and say, ‘Hey, we got to take care of our players,’ but if I was the head coach or the defensive coordinator, in the back of my head, I would be grinning.”

That could be the case, too. As long as the offensive player is only separated from the ball and not some more vital appendage, there’s nothing wrong with seeing some added toughness on a defense that didn’t scare many opponents last season.

Plus, can you really blame Ernie Sims? The man was just paroled after four seasons with the Detroit Lions. He comes to a team that might be in transition, but it’s a lot better to be transitioning from 11-5 than from 2-14.

Sims likes to talk about winning, which, given his recent experience, is like listening to an Eskimo speak longingly about a warm winter. In his football career, Sims has known about winning. His high school team won four straight state championships. His college team, Florida State, had a regular-season record of 26-9 during his three seasons with the Seminoles.

Since then, however, well, it’s been Detroit.

The last time Sims played in a win was Dec. 23, 2007, the second-to-last game of the 2007 regular season, which is the only kind of season they know about in Detroit. The Lions were winless in 2008 and Sims was out with an injury for both of Detroit’s wins last season. That means Sims is on a personal 0-for-28 stretch. (And 1 for 35, but there’s no reason to rub it in.)”

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