Ernie Sims Q&A

Florida State junior linebacker Ernie Sims met with the media Monday afternoon to discuss his decision to forego his final year of eligibility with the Seminoles and enter April's NFL Draft. The following is a transcript of the conversation that took place."

Opening statement: "First of all, I would like to say that this was a difficult decision for me. First of all, I would like to thank my coaches, my parents, my family and Florida State University. You all have done a lot for me. This is the school I always wanted to go to ever since I was little since my dad played football here. The university has first class facilities. I wouldn't want to play no other place rather than Florida State. I really feel like I am ready to go to the next level. It's a dream that I have wanted ever since I was a little kid. I think that's everybody's dream. I think I am ready for that challenge. I want to move on. I also think that this team has a great chance to have a lot of success the next couple of years. I really feel like the defense is going to contend for the best in the nation. With the young guys that we have like Lawrence Timmons, Derek Nicholson, Geno Hayes — I mean those guys have great ability and great talent and I really feel like we can have a lot of success the next couple of years. I also would like to say that I definitely want to come back and get my degree. That's a priority for me. I came in here and said that I wanted to be a veterinarian and that's one thing that I am going to stay true to. I am definitely going to come back hopefully during the off season and continue to work on my degree."

A: "It's kind of mixed feelings. I kind of don't want to leave. I have been here for 21 years. But at the same time, it's like I want to move on. It's a tough decision."

Q: What are some of the deciding factors that you think helped you make this decision?

A: "The factors were basically…one of them was my degree. My family…it's tough because I've got a lot of mixed feelings about it. I don't want to leave my family. I've got a little brother that's about to start his career in college and I want to be there for him and I want to support him. But at the same time, I've got to look at myself. I have had injuries — I don't want to risk that. It's kind of like, I want to take advantage of this opportunity."

Q: Was there a specific moment or incident that helped you make this decision?

A: "No, not really. Ever since the beginning of last year I got a lot of hype and talking and everything. It kind of got me going a little bit but to be honest with you, I enjoyed every minute of it. Playing for Coach (Bobby) Bowden and playing for Coach (Kevin) Steele and being around the players — my friends A.J. (Nicholson) and Buster (Davis) and Sam (McGrew) and all them — I don't want to take none of that back. Those are great teammates and now that they are gone, I am going to miss them."

Q: You mentioned injuries, is a primary concern of yours the concussions that you have suffered through the past three years?

A: "Not necessarily concussions because a lot of football players get concussions. It's just that I have had several surgeries. If I did come back I would be risking an injury again or not even being able to play again. I don't know if I am going to be able to play again after tomorrow so that's why I want to take advantage of this opportunity."

Q: Have you gotten your draft projection yet?

A: "My projection was early second round."

Q: When did you get that from the NFL?

A: "I got it back right after the Orange Bowl."

Q: Do you have any concern that you are leaving some money on the table if you were able to come back next season and improve your stock into the early first round?

A: "I understand that I might can be a higher draft pick next year but like I said, there's a chance I might not get to play again — I might get injured. I really feel like this is a great opportunity."

Q: Have you heard any talk about maybe switching to safety at the next level or is staying at linebacker something you are intent on?

A: "No. I am just going to try to gain some pounds."

Q: What is your ideal weight that you want to get to?

A: "I probably want to get around 227, 226."

Q: What are you now?

A: "Probably about 221."

Q: What is your training schedule going to be like now?

A: "Today I am leaving to go to Arizona. I will be out there all the way up to the combine. I will be training Monday through Friday from nine (a.m.) to five (p.m.)."

Q: Who are you training with?

A: "I will be training at a place called API."

Q: Have you signed an agent yet and if so, who?

A: "Todd France with France Sports."

Q: Can you just talk about what the coaches here at Florida State have done to prepare you for the NFL?

A: "Like I said, Coach Steele is a great guy. He is one of the main reasons why I came here. With the experience he has had in the NFL, he has already prepared most of us for the NFL. He is always talking about the NFL. It kind of gave me a glimpse of what I can expect in the NFL. So, with his knowledge and what I have experienced and what he has experienced, I really feel like he can prepare me."

Q: Did you talk to some of the other guys on the team like Antonio Cromartie and Lorenzo Booker, who are going through some of the same decision making processes that you are?

A: "I really didn't talk to Lorenzo that much but Cromartie, I talked to him about it. He just told me who his agent was and where he would be training."

Q: Are you guys encouraging Lorenzo to stay?

A: "I am definitely going to tell him to stay. The reason why is because I think that he can have a better chance next year. But like everybody is trying to get me to stay I can't make him stay."

Q: Can you just talk about this opportunity to pursue your dream of playing professional football?

A: "First of all, it means a lot to me because not a lot of people get the chance to play in the NFL. It's been a dream for me ever since I was little and it became more of a dream again this year when I was getting a lot of hype. It became more of a reality. As I kept going through the season and everything, I was really concentrating on it and I really can't wait. I hope it's fun."

Q: Coming out of high school where you dominated everybody to now college, do you think maybe there are some areas you wish that you had better excelled at?

A: "Yeah, there's some doubt in my mind that I didn't really leave with a statement like I really wanted to. When you first come in as a freshman, you tell yourself yeah I want to just blow out the stats and everything. In high school that's what I did — I blew out my competition. But in college, there's more competition. I really feel like that I did all I could do to the best of my ability."

Q: What do you think you will bring to an NFL team?

A: "I will be a great teammate. (I'm) very responsible — everybody can rely on me. I will do my job and just give you all I've got."

Q: Do you have expectations about what life in the NFL is going to be like?

A: "Just the fact that I don't know what to expect. Just like when I was coming out of high school I didn't know what to expect in college. My first game we went to North Carolina I didn't know what to expect and Coach Steele put me in and I had the tie of my life. Until that time comes I really can't tell you what I expect."

Q: With your superb athletic ability, do you think that you can get yourself into the first round after showing the NFL scouts your talent at the combine and at Pro Day?

A: "Oh most definitely. If I do what I think I can and when I go out to Arizona, I am going to work my behind off. I am going to get the right weight and get the right speed and everything and if I get to where I know I can get to I am pretty sure that I will break records."

Q: Do you have a favorite NFL team?

A: "Probably a Florida team. I really don't like cold weather (laughing)."

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