Two For The Road

The axe came down Tuesday at One Arrowhead drive as a pair of veteran defensive linemen were sent packing. The Chiefs parted ways with both Ryan Sims and Eric Hicks.

Herm Edwards gave us plenty of warning shortly after he took the job from Dick Vermeil. He said two things that have rung true – the Chiefs needed to get younger and rid themselves of unproductive players. For me, the release of Hicks is a sad one. He might be one of the classiest guys in the locker room, a player who was cut simply because his physical skills have eroded. But he's character guy who was an All-Pro in my book.

He stood tall and defended his struggling defensive teammates for years, never hiding his emotions. Despite playing on one of the worst defenses in the NFL in four of his nine years on the team, he always gave maximum effort.

I thought the Chiefs would keep Hicks as insurance after they learned Jared Allen was going to be suspended the first quarter of the season, but the selection of Turk McBride from Tennessee this past weekend signaled the end.

This move also means veteran Jimmy Wilkerson will concentrate on playing defensive end since Kansas City is now stacked on the interior of the defensive line.

But the move that surprised me the most - not for the departure, but the way he left the team - was defensive tackle Ryan Sims. The Chiefs shipped him off to Tampa Bay for a conditional draft pick.

That means the Chiefs probably agreed to a sixth or seventh-rounder for Sims, a pick that could be elevated to a fifth or sixth-round pick in 2008. That's a steal. How Chiefs President Carl Peterson convinced anyone to take Sims in exchange for a draft pick is beyond me.

On the field, Sims never really hit his stride. He started his career by holding out until days before the 2001 season opener. Then he was injured a few weeks later at San Diego and it was downhill from that point.

To his credit, Sims worked his tail off in the summer of 2005, and I think had finally turned his game around. He was the defensive star in training camp and in preseason games, but in the first quarter of the season opener, Sims hurt his foot and missed the next 10 games. He fought hard to come back but lost the momentum that might have turned his career around.

A year later he and Edwards never saw eye-to-eye as Sims lost his starting job. He was relegated to backup status behind James Reed and Ron Edwards.

With the re-signing of those two players this offseason, the addition of Alphonso Boone and the drafting of Tank Tyler, it was clear Sims had no future in Kansas City.

Now Sims will get a chance to start fresh in Tampa Bay, and perhaps show why he was worthy of a first-round draft choice.

In Hicks' case, this town owes him an amazing debt of gratitude for a charitable heart and passionate play. He was a giver, and one can only hope he remains a citizen of Kansas City. Top Stories