Sims knows he’d rather be playing than watching

rob-simsOne game into Rob Sims’ third NFL season, his pectoral tendon ripped off the bone. He finished the game, but could barely lift his suitcase for the flight home.

Through the surgery, and hour after dragging hour of rehabilitation, Sims’ mind stayed active. He watched the team struggle through a 4-12 record, and he wondered about his own career. Would this be the end of it?

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And that led him to thoughts of his father, the late Robert “Mickey” Sims.

“You let all kinds of stuff creep into your head,” Sims said. “I thought about how much I missed playing and how much I wanted to be back. My dad played only three seasons in the league; would this be history repeating itself? I couldn’t let that happen.”

Sims, a 6-foot-3, 312-pound guard, has been racing around minicamps and off-season training sessions like a rookie. “I’m 100 percent committed … playing every play like it could be my last,” he said. “I know I won’t ever take (football) for granted. This is what I want to do with my life.”

As Rob Sims started almost every game of his career as an offensive lineman for Ohio State, winning a national championship as a senior, Mickey Sims kept him motivated.

A gentle giant who weighed 350 pounds, Mickey Sims told his son how his own lax training habits caused his career with the Cleveland Browns in the late 1970s to end prematurely.

On draft Sunday in the spring of 2006, Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren called Rob Sims to tell him they were going to use a fourth-round pick on him. Sims was in church at the time. The appropriate sermon that day: Catching a Dream.

Within two months, when Rob Sims was at a Seahawks minicamp, Mickey Sims died of a heart attack at age 51.

Remembering his father’s messages, Sims had a very promising rookie season and came into 2007 as a starter at left guard. Although Sims said he felt that he learned a great deal that season, some of it was how to deal with subpar performances. At times, he and young center Chris Spencer looked confused, and played without confidence.

The rushing average dropped 20 yards per game, and although the Hawks finished 10-6 and made it to the second round of the playoffs, Holmgren promised that the running game had to be rebuilt.

“To be honest, we all were a little screwed up at that point (2007),” Sims said. “It was very frustrating. There was a lot of stuff going on, and there were things you learned to endure. In the end, we worked through it and still made the playoffs.”

One of those moves last season was bringing in a new offensive line coach, Mike Solari. But Sims lasted only one game before being put on the injured list.

“Last season just sucked all around,” he said.

As Sims explained it, surgeons drilled a hole through the bone to reattach the torn pectoral.

“It was bad,” he said. “But we had enough time for it to heal up and I worked my butt off in the weight room. I know I’m happy to be back.”

Sims should be one of the beneficiaries of the zone blocking scheme Solari is teaching under new coach Jim Mora.

“There was a bit of a learning curve in the first minicamp, but in this one we’re getting it together,” Sims said. “I think in the end it will be easier, and it will be better for us because we’re more of a smaller, quicker line, not like Dallas, where everybody is 330.”

The approach creates different blocking angles for the linemen, and he’s encouraged by the early results.

Asked what he likes to do away from the game, Sims confessed that he rarely gets “away” from football.

“Seriously, I’m so concentrated on what I’m doing here, I don’t do much else. I did a little bit of traveling in the offseason. Mostly, when I’m away from here, I just go home and relax and hang with friends. This is my life.”

Any Seahawk playing the interior line had to be put on high alert as Oregon center/guard Max Unger was drafted with the Hawks’ second pick (No. 49 overall).

Sims didn’t need any extra incentive.

“This is a big season for me; I’m hungry because I still have a lot to prove,” he said. “And I’m going to do it.”

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