Ryan Sims: Motivated And Determined

As the sixth pick overall pick in the 2002 draft, Ryan Sims was destined for NFL stardom. Four turbulent seasons later, Sims has accomplished little. By his own admission, he's had bad luck with injuries, and he knows he's not lived up to the expectations of a first-round draft pick.

The only thing Sims can do now is go out and prove he was worth that pick. He's ready to stand tall in the middle of Kansas City's defense.

"It's my year," said Sims. "This is year five, and I expected greater things by now. Hopefully this year I can put everything together and go out and make plays."

Sims understands that the heat is on. To his credit, he responded a year ago and had the best training camp of any defensive player on the roster. But his season was cut short when he injured his foot in the season opener against the New York Jets.

That made everyone wonder if he was injury prone or just unlucky. Despite the setback, he never quit on the season as his teammates continued without him. He worked his tail off and managed to get back on the field in December and contribute.

Now he has a new defensive line coach in Tim Krumrie, who pushes him during every practice. Not just physically, but mentally, according to Sims. Chiefs' Head Coach Herman Edwards has been pushing his star defensive tackle, too.

As the off-season began, Edwards knew that Sims was a key performer for his new team. So he made a point of it to spend some time with him before training camp.

"We had a good talk before the spring ended," Edwards said. "We were talking about what I expected out of him and how we were going to get it done. He's done a great job of playing. He's competing and is playing up to his talent level consistently."

In the past, the knock on Sims was that he was lazy. He had trouble keeping his weight under control. But Edwards' isn't concerned with the past. He's satisfied with what he sees out of Sims so far.

"All I know is what I see right now," said Edwards. "That's all I can judge. He's done everything he can do to come and be in shape in camp and compete and go hard."

That's exactly what Sims has done in River Falls. He's gotten after it and is showing flashes of being a dominant interior lineman. As is true with Lional Dalton, Sims is doing some of the same things in practice that lead many to believe he might have turned the corner.

His first step is much quicker and he's using his hands to knock down passes. He's adept at clogging the running lanes, but Sims' best attribute is shooting the gaps and putting pressure on the offensive backfield.

If he can do that consistently, it will make a huge difference in Kansas City's defense. The Chiefs don't care if he's blowing up a run or changing the direction of a pass. If he can be a disrupter in the backfield, the defense will be much more balanced than it was a year ago.

Media and fans alike have labeled Sims as a bust, but he's not ready to accept that fate. He knows he has not reached his potential, and he feels unfinished.

"I am not pleased," said Sims. "You have to be your own hardest critic. I'm very motivated. I want a ring."

And if the Chiefs do get that ring, it will be because the interior defensive line stepped up. And if that happens, that means Sims did his job in 2006.

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