Lions sign Sims; ninth overall pick in camp

Ernie Sims, the ninth overall pick by Detroit in April, came to terms with the Lions and inked a five-year contract Sunday morning -- and then immediately walked onto the Lions' practice field to begin his career as a Detroit Lion.

Todd France, the agent for Ernie Sims, spent his entire Saturday on the phone negotiating a deal with the Detroit Lions.

In the end, it was worth it.

Sims, the ninth overall pick by Detroit in April, came to terms with the Lions and inked a five-year contract Sunday morning -- and then immediately walked onto the Lions' practice field to begin his career as a Detroit Lion.

Sims missed the first two days of the training camp, but will have a crash-course in the tempo that head coach Rod Marinell has instilled and that the rest of Detroit's roster has already learned.

Coincidentally, Sims is the only healthy of Detroit's three projected starting linebackers. Both middle-linebacker Boss Bailey and strong-side linebacker Teddy Lehman are still nursing injuries.

Sims, known for hits so devastating at Florida State that many even left him knocked out, has been compared to Tampa Bay All-Pro linebacker Derrick Brooks and the Lions defensive staff feels he can be extremely effective as a weak-side linebacker in their "Tampa 2" defense, capable of running down plays all over the field and also handling coverage assignments.

Lions' defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson said Sims aggressive style is what makes him a special talent.

"That's what playmakers do -- they go after the ball," Henderson said. "You like that. I know one thing: It's easier to pull them off them than to sic 'em on them. If you've got to sic 'em on them, we've got problems."

Sims still has to win a job, however. Marinelli and Henderson didn't give him the No. 1 job in mini-camp and he won't get it in training camp unless they feel he has earned it.

But if he can indeed avoid additional injuries, Sims brings the type of play the Lions have been lacking in recent years and the style that is sure to be appreciated by Marinelli.

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