Ernie Sims was without a team long enough.
The veteran signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals Tuesday, bringing the former No. 9 overall selection in 2006 to the team that, incidentally, made the pick right after he was taken off the board.
The Cardinals brought Sims in for a workout earlier last week, and likely saw signing him as more of a necessity once Daryl Washington was suspended for the season due to violating the NFL’s policy on substance abuse.
With Washington out, the Cardinals offered Sims more than just a roster spot, though he said the only thing the coaches guaranteed him was a chance.
“Most definitely,” Sims told AZCardinals.com when asked if the possibility of playing time enticed him. “I’ve been competing my whole life. That’s what I do, that’s what I enjoy doing.
“So the opportunity presented itself and I’m definitely going to try to take advantage of it.”
Given that Sims has spent all of one OTA practice with the Cardinals, it would be foolish to try and project what kind of role he will have with the team. As of now, the starters at inside linebacker project to be second-year pro Kevin Minter and veteran Larry Foote, with others — like Sims — possibly entering the mix.
But as Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Monday, before Sims was brought on board, any linebacker the team added in lieu of Washington’s suspension would not be handed a starting role.
“He’d have to earn it,” the coach said. “If there’s one available that can do that I’d like to have him.”
Is that Sims?
Through his first eight seasons in the league, the former Florida State star has shown flashes of effectiveness but struggled with consistency.
From 2006 to 2009 with Detroit he averaged 123.7 total tackles per season, but has seen that number drop to 50.2 over the last five seasons, which has also seen him play for four different teams.
He was available on June 3 for a reason, though Sims believes he’ll be able to contribute quite a bit to his new team.
“My aggressiveness and my work ethic, speed,” he said when asked what his biggest strengths are. “You watch me play football, I’m around the ball. I think that’s essential to having a great defense, a linebacker that’s around the ball no matter what.”
If there is one saving grace for the Cardinals through all of this it’s that while they appear to be thin at the inside linebacker spot, they are pretty strong in pretty much every other spot on their defense. While it is hoped that Sims will contribute, there shouldn’t be any unreasonable expectations.
No one will ask him to be Daryl Washington.
“Daryl Washington his a hell of a linebacker, and it’s going to be hard such talent like that,” Sims said. “But I think this organization’s doing a good job bringing in good talent. They already have talent in-house, and adding me to the linebacking corps I think is going to be really good.”