There were times last year where Lions guard
“I’d be eating whoppers and stuff on my way in (to practice) so I would weight around 305," he said Thursday. "But in actuality, I was under 300 and that’s just too light to go against Kevin Williams (Vikings) and Justin Smith (49ers) and all those guys.
“The last couple years I’ve been playing really light, a lot lighter than I’ve been used to playing. I felt like there were some parts of my game that were affected by that."
Sims believes he hasn’t been nearly as effective as a run blocker at a lighter weight and feels like he lost some “pop” playing under 300 pounds. Therefore, Sims reported to the offseason training program this year approximately 20 pounds heavier and is currently around 315 pounds, which he thinks is a much better playing weight than the 295 he played at times last year.
“I wouldn't do it if I didn’t see that there was a problem there,” Sims said. “The good thing around here is I think they trusted me enough when I said, ‘hey, I want to try something a little bit different.’ “I think I’ve proven to them that I’m not just playing around. This is my profession and I take it serious and this is something that I think will make me better, which will make this team better.”
Sims didn’t become a regular at Burger King to gain the weight, either. He says he’s been making sure he’s eating the right kinds of food and has stayed on top of his supplements and vitamins. He's also been attacking the weight room more than he ever has since arriving via trade in 2010.
“I think the way we are doing it is going to be right on target,” he said. “You guys see me right now, I’m not a sloppy 20 (pounds heavier). I didn’t come here breathing hard or anything.”/p>
That’s a very important part of this process to Sims because he lost his father, Mickey Sims, a former guard with the Browns, to heart disease in 2006.
“It’s something that’s very serious to me as far as my eating and my cholesterol and where I am with all that kind of stuff,” he said. “But this is the next step for me in my career and I took the step knowing that it’s something that’s easily reversible if I need to reverse it.”
The biggest obstacles for Sims keeping on the weight was a lingering shoulder injury that prevented him from doing the heavy weight training he was used to, as well as the rigorous training program.
“When I came to Detroit I wasn’t ready to be honest with all the stuff they demand of you here and how we practice and all that kind of stuff. This is the hardest I’ve ever worked,” he said of his last two seasons with the Lions. “It’s an old-school mentality and going into it and working through it I couldn’t keep (the weight). I wasn’t doing what I normally was when I was in Seattle. Coach Schwartz demands a lot of you and your weight shows.”
It was during a one-on-one sit-down with offensive line coach George Yarno and assistant offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn following last season that really prompted Sims to gain the weight.
“They were like, ‘you’re a good guard in this league. How do we get you to be a great one?’” Sims said of those meetings. “Small things we needed to change, like for instance; (playing) a 3-4 (defense) and I have to block the end, there were times I wasn’t happy with that. So those were some things I need to go back and do and the weight gain will help.”
Sims signed a four-year extension with the Lions during the middle of the 2010 season and is under contract through 2014. He’s hoping the added power associated with the weight gain helps transform him from a good guard to a great one.
“I’m in shape and I think this something that’s going to take me to the next level,” he said. “Blocking Albert Haynesworth and Justin Smith at 295 (pounds), I can’t do that anymore. I faked it for two years and got through it, but I can’t do it anymore.”