IRVING, Texas – Linebacker Ernie Sims, the ninth overall pick in the 2006 draft, was starting to think his NFL career was over.
Then the Cowboys called, needing to add a linebacker to the roster with defensive co-captain Sean Lee headed to injured reserve.
“I’m young. I’m healthy. I know I can play in the NFL,” Sims said after Wednesday’s practice at Valley Ranch. “But at the same time, I’ve got a life to live. I can’t always just wait on the NFL to give me a phone call. I’ve got to move on with my life at some point in time. It was getting tough at that one moment.
“I’m just real happy the Dallas Cowboys gave me an opportunity to come in and prove myself. I feel like I’ve got something to prove.”
It remains to be seen whether Sims, who said he was happy to be “off the streets” and able to support his wife and son, will get a chance to prove that he can play inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
That would seem to be quite a stretch for an undersized 4-3 outside linebacker who has played for three teams in the last three seasons. Sims appears to be a couple inches shy of his 6-foot listing and said he has bulked up to 234 pounds.
If Sims makes an impact, it’s likely to come in the Cowboys’ substitution packages on passing downs and on special teams.
Sims, a draft bust in Detroit, is just eager for the opportunity to prove he belongs in the NFL. He indicated that immaturity was an issue earlier in his career, saying he’s grown up after getting married and having a kid.
“My motives and my mindset (are) totally different now,” Sims said. “What I’ve been through in the NFL has really just completely changed my life. That’s why I say this is a totally new beginning for me.
“When I say I’ve got something to prove, I’ve got something to prove. It’s game time.”