The Bitter Buc

One of the worst things you can do in any profession is burn the bridges you built when first breaking in to the job. While it might feel good for a fleeting moment or two, in the long run it will come back to haunt you in some way.

This doesn't just apply to office workers and the average blue-collar American. It applies to professional athletes, too – even the high-dollar prima donnas in the NFL.

Most recently, it applies to defensive tackle Ryan Sims – currently of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs, but apparently, a life-long member of the Sour Grapes Club.

In Thursday's edition of Tampa's Herald Tribune , Sims went off on Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards. He accused him of creating a negative atmosphere in Kansas City, and blew the lid off a shocking scandal in which he claims 28 Chiefs' veterans requested trades out of Kansas City last season.

This is nothing new. If you've been paying attention, Sims has been doing this since the middle of last season. The Kansas City Star featured Sims as part of a November article in which the defensive tackle complained about being relegated to backup status. He blamed Edwards for not giving him a chance and basically playing favorites between Sims and the new defensive tackles the team signed that offseason (James Reed and Ron Edwards).

That led to his eventual exodus from Kansas City and arrival in Tampa Bay, where his first action was to – you guessed it – rip the Chiefs.

Last month, on Tampa Bay's website, Sims basically accused the Chiefs of not investing in the defense, stating that Tampa Bay was his dream location and paradise on earth for NFL defensive lineman. He reiterated his comments about being KC's black sheep.

It's not difficult to understand why Sims is taking the low road with all of this. Before Edwards arrived in Kansas City, Sims was guaranteed a starting spot. That all changed when the Chiefs signed Reed and Edwards.

By dumping Sims down the depth chart, the Chiefs essentially made him a second-class NFL citizen, which is where he is right now in Tampa Bay. The Tribune classified his current plight with the Buccaneers as "fighting for a roster spot."

Now, I don't have to tell Chiefs fans about how absurd Sims' comments are. Everyone knows two of Herm's favorite catchphrases are "It's okay" and "We're fine." For a team apparently playing under the cruel whip of such spirit-destroying overlords, the Chiefs' defense fought to the last man against Peyton Manning and the Colts in the playoffs last season.

And clearly, 28 players seeking a trade is ridiculous. Sims claimed that "every starter" was trying to get out of Kansas City. Does that include the players Edwards brought into the organization? How could it possibly include the 11 defensive starters – including leftovers from the Dick Vermeil era – that enjoyed KC's best defensive season in almost a decade?

How about the 11 offensive starters? Why would aging veterans like Will Shields, Casey Wiegmann, Trent Green and Eddie Kennison want to uproot their lives in Kansas City just to play a season or two more somewhere else?

Tony Gonzalez might be KC's highest-profile citizen and has stated numerous times he wants to finish his career as a Chief. Are we supposed to believe he confessed his true desires in a late-night gossip session with Sims and all the other disgruntled Chiefs? I'm looking forward to a potential book authored by Sims on this subject, because I do enjoy a good work of fiction.

But Sims' latest rant goes beyond absurdity. In fact, he's delving into hypocrisy.

During his last training camp as a Chief, Sims had a private conversation with Edwards concerning his future and role on the team. How did he characterize the meeting?

"I thought it was a very positive conversation," Sims said in the Star. "I had some fundamental questions."

"Herm is going to tell you what he feels and how he feels about you," Sims continued. "I really appreciate that, and I'm glad he's the type of guy I feel like I can talk to in front of the media or behind closed doors."

Do those quotes sound like Sims thought a negative atmosphere was being fostered in training camp last season?

Now let's take it one step further, and look at this conversation from Herm's side of the table. Clearly, if he was such a negative man, he'd have something nasty to say about Sims, right? Here's a quote from an article that appeared on Warpaint Illustrated's website last August:

"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."

Does that sound like a negative person?

Now let's take a look at what Edwards had to say when an injury to James Reed forced Sims onto the field. Keep in mind this quote appeared in the same Star article wherein Sims complained about his status in Kansas City.

"He's been solid," said Edwards. "I think he's becoming better the more he plays."

Negative? If anyone was negative at the time, it was Sims, throwing a pity party for one.

Clearly, Cryin' Sims is as two-faced as they come in this business. One wonders what he might say when the Chiefs face the Buccaneers next season (Kansas City last played the NFC South in 2004, which would make for a possible Chiefs-Bucs matchup in 2008).

One thing is certain: Should he become the next great defensive tackle as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer and enjoy a Hall of Fame career, Edwards won't be the one introducing him in Canton.

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