ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Detroit Lions offensive guard Rob Sims doesn’t recommend it for anyone at home, but he intentionally gained about 15 pounds during the offseason and is now tipping the scales around 315.
“There’s no need to have a 9-to-5 (job) and carry this kind of weight,” Sims said. “There’s no reason to be this heavy other than to play football.”
Although the perception might be that the big uglies on the offensive line could care less about their overeating habits and cholesterol levels, that’s not true with Sims.
His father, former Cleveland Brown lineman Robert “Mickey” Sims, died of heart disease. Rob Sims takes it all very seriously.
He just felt he really needed the extra pounds to continue to compete every Sunday in the NFL trenches.
Younger players adding “good weight” over the winter is more common, but Sims, 28, is entering his seventh year in the league.
Excessive gains for someone his age typically is an indication that the player has gotten out of shape during the offseason. Sims insists that’s not the case with him at all.
“It wasn’t that I was just gorging myself,” he said.
Sims claims he’s done it all by eating properly, taking the right supplements and vitamins, and lifting heavy in the weight room.
“This is something I think is going to take me to the next level,” Sims said. “The last couple years, I’ve been playing really light, a lot lighter than I’m used to playing.
“I felt there were some parts of my game that were affected because of that, mainly some of the stuff I do on the run (game). I just didn’t have the pop I was used to.”
Despite being listed at 312 pounds, Sims said he played much of last season around 295. He claims he was “eating Whoppers” right before his scheduled weigh-ins just to make the number sound better.
After all, he’s an offensive lineman. He’s supposed to be big and heavy.
“I would weigh around 305,” Sims said. “In actuality, I was under 300.
“Blocking (Tampa Bay’s) Albert Haynesworth and (San Francisco’s) Justin Smith at 295, I can’t do that anymore. I faked it for two years. I got through it but I can’t do it no more.”
Before coming to Detroit in a trade with Seattle two years ago, Sims said he was in the 312-315 range.
His explanation for playing at the lighter weight here is that the Lions practice and work out harder than he was used to on a regular basis.
He added that a shoulder injury kept him from lifting weights during the season a year ago, which also affected his ability to keep weight on his 6-foot-3 frame.
The Lions had one of the worst running games in the NFL a year ago. That was partly because of injuries to the team’s top two running backs, but also because they have one of the most prolific passing combinations in the game.
But the offensive line must be better in run-blocking to help this team take another step forward.
Sims believes he needs to be part of that improvement.
“You’ve got to keep reinventing yourself in this game,” he said. “I’ve got to have something different when I come play (the top defensive linemen) come September.”
In Sims’ case, he believes the extra weight is the answer.
“For me to take a step from good to great, I’m going to have to become a better run-blocker, I’m going to have to become a better screen-blocker,” Sims said. “We’re ready to turn the corner as far as the running game goes. I’m going to make sure I do my part.”
Sims said he expects to play in the 312-315 range this season, which he considers a happy medium in terms of giving him good strength and bulk combined with agility and quickness.
“I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t see there was a problem there,” Sims said of the weight gain. “This was the next step for me in my career.”
Sims, on the Lions drafting an offensive tackle, Riley Reiff, in the first round: “You’re going to have some guys struggle with it. Let’s be honest, a guy like that comes in, somebody’s got to look for a job eventually.”
Sims, on Reiff being a rookie: “It’s pretty much one of those things where you got to get in line. That’s how it was when I first came into the league. I had to get in line with (former Seattle offensive tackle) Walter Jones. I think Riley’s going to have that attitude. Any rookie in here got to pay their dues, especially in that locker room.”