Dec. 19, 2006
NEW YORK CITY - Former Husky running back James Sims will be activated from the practice squad to the active roster for the New York Giants, according to Sims. Sims learned of his promotion on Tuesday morning.
Sims, the Huskies' offensive MVP in 2005, was signed as an undrafted free agent following the 2006 NFL Draft. He has remained inactive for the first 14 games for the Giants. Sims is expected to play on special teams and serve as the team's third-string running back behind Pro-Bowler Tiki Barber and Brandon Jacobs in the Giants' Christmas Eve home game against New Orleans.
Sims led the Huskies in 2005 with 495 rushing yards and six touchdowns. He served as the team's starting running back for the final five games of his senior season and recorded two 100-yard games, including 200 yards in the Huskies' 38-14 victory at Arizona.
Besides being a stand out football player at Washington, Sims served as a student assistant in the Athletics Communications office where he was instrumental in the production of video streaming interviews and features for GoHuskies.com. He was also a standout filmmaker and several of his videos, including "Ring Fling" can be found on Youtube.com.
Sims had previously agreed to do a question and answer session with GoHuskies.com web editor Brian Tom before he found out about his promotion to discuss life in the NFL as a practice squad player.
GoHuskies.com: Congratulations on getting activated! That is exciting news. How did you find out about your promotion?
James Sims: "Actually I was leaving the stadium this morning after having to decorate the running backs meeting room for Christmas - you know typical rookie duties - and he (running backs coach Jerald Ingram) gave me a call and asked me, `Do you want to play this year or next year?' and I told him that I wanted to play this year and he said `Alright, we're going to need your help this weekend' and I said I'll be ready."
GH.com: What are your roles going to be on Sunday?
Sims: "Special teams and possibly a little running back."
GH.com: This is kind of a cool early Christmas gift for you isn't it?
Sims: "Definitely. To have this happen right around Christmas time is `WOW'. Could it get any better than this?"
GH.com: Who have you called to tell the news to?
Sims: "I called (Husky) coach (Trent) Miles and let him know right before you called. And he let all the Husky coaches know and they all wished me good luck. I called my mom before you called as well. I also called a couple buddies, including (former Husky offensive lineman) Joe Toledo down in Miami and let him know."
GH.com: Did you think it was another rookie practical joke when you heard?:
Sims: "They're not that cruel! That would have been too cruel."
GH.com: Through the first 14 games, what has been your role with the Giants?
Sims: "I've basically been a scout running back. I've had to mimic the running back for whatever team we are playing in the week ahead. I pretty much do that and give the offense and defense different looks on special teams. I've been pretty much acting as an extra body and doing whatever they have needed me to do."
GH.com: What has it been like playing with Tiki Barber in his reported last season? (It was announced later in the day that Barber was named to his third-consecutive NFL Pro Bowl)
Sims: "He is a great guy. I think there are a lot of similarities between himself and I, just in how he values a lot of things and carries himself. He's somebody that I can really look up to and is a good all around guy and a great football player."
GH.com: What has Giants running backs coach Jerald Ingram provided you in way of advice and how has your overall experience been with the coaching staff?
Sims: "Coach Jerald is probably one of the coolest coaches that we have out here. He has really been fighting for me ever since I've been out here and they really like me. He's really kept my head in the game and given me words of encouragement as the weeks have gone on. It's kind of tough being on the practice squad when you think you should be playing, so he's been trying to keep me in it mentally.
"But, overall the coaching staff is a lot different than in college. It's more of a business around here as they're trying to make sure they have the right guys on the field that can play. It is more of a tough love thing. It's an adult world more and they are sensitive about the business aspects and how you carry yourself. You have to have an understanding of knowing what you have to do, because they better not have to baby you."
GH.com: What is Head Coach Tom Coughlin preaching to you guys and what you need to do in the next couple of weeks?
Sims: "Basically we've got to start playing like ourselves again. We keep beating ourselves in these losses we have (the Giants are currently 7-7), so basically when we decide to stop losing we'll do it."
GH.com: How different is life as an NFL player than life as a college athlete?
Sims: "Everyone at this level is really professional in the way they handle themselves. There is not a lot of that whole `you're a rookie' `you're a freshman' stuff . It's more or less they treat you like a man. You're more or less expected to do your job. At the same time, I'm really enjoying it. Being done with school, I actually feel like I'm grown now! I can come and go as I please and do things like that. I mean, it's still hard work. We still have to meet and still have to practice. But the way practice is run, you get into a routine and you get used to it."
GH.com: Before this week, what has a typical game day been like for you as a practice squad member?
Sims: "I usually watch the game from the sidelines, you know, the best seats in the house and support the team and everything. For away games we don't travel with the team, so either we'll all get together and watch it at somebody's house."
GH.com: What is your living situation like and what do you think of New York?
Sims: "I live in East Rutherford, New Jersey which is 10 minutes away from the city and I live five minutes away from the stadium in a little quiet apartment building. It's cool...but you know, it hasn't even been cold yet here! We haven't had any snow or anything."
GH.com: So did you get to follow the Huskies this year?
Sims: "Every Saturday! I was really proud of them this year and what Coach Willingham has done there. They are starting to live up to their potential but had a couple of strings of bad luck. At one point they were doing really well, but then they had the setback of Isaiah Stanback getting hurt. But they fought through it and the most important thing is that they got the Apple Cup back."
GH.com: How many games were you able to watch in New York?
Sims: "They didn't really have many on the East Coast, but I did get to see the UCLA game, which was awesome. I didn't get to see the Oklahoma game, but every time I did get to watch they won, which was good."
GH.com: While at Washington, making movies was a big part of your life. Are you still able to do that?
Sims: "I haven't done any of that yet, it's been mostly football out here. But I have been working on a film career and am going to end up in Los Angeles during the off season doing an internship with a film company."
GH.com: How did this internship come about?
Sims: "I had come to find out that one of our owners, Steven Tisch (Chairman and Executive Vice President) is a film producer. He produced the new Will Smith movie (Pursuit of Happyness) and Forrest Gump. He caught wind that I made films and he got a hold of "Ring Fling" and another film I did and he told me he was impressed with my work."
GH.com: What do you miss about Seattle?
Sims: "I miss all my co-workers! I miss my teammates and my friends especially. I miss the scenery. I traded in the green for the city and it's a big drastic change, but it's cool."
GH.com: What's your favorite part about New York City?
Sims: "I think it's the excitement of being out in the city. You go to NYC in the night and it still looks like day around Times Square. I enjoy being in the big city and around all the action, especially knowing that I'm in the media capital of the world, which is something I really want to get into someday, so that is really exciting.
GH.com: Who do you hang out with and how do you spend your down time in New York?
Sims: "I pretty much chill out at home. I try to keep things peaceful. I hang out mostly with the running backs. The rookies pretty much hang out together because a lot of us live in the same apartment building. It's almost like the dorms again, but not really. I've really gotten to know a lot of the younger guys and the other guys on the practice squad, so we're all close.
GH.com: What kind of rookie hazing have you had to go through?
Sims: "I've actually made it out pretty cool. Like I said, I'm in charge for holidays, decorating up the rooms--making it look like Christmas or Halloween, getting candy for everyone and stuff. I would have to go to the store and buy candy for everyone. You know how funny it looks when five grown men go and buy a lot of candy? Other than that, it hasn't been that bad. I had to get up on the chairs and do singing during camp, so that was funny."
GH.com: Are you ready for the off-season or are you all geared up for a playoff run?
Sims: "I'm definitely geared up for the playoffs. But, I do have to say that the NFL is a lot longer than college season. It's like playing two college seasons. I think most of the rookies are just trying to get adjusted to the fact that the season is a lot longer than what we're used to."
GH.com: What was the first thing you bought as an NFL player?
Sims; "The first thing I bought was a laptop computer. I've been wanting one of those and that was the most expensive thing I've ever bought in my life! Other than that, I've just been saving up my money.
GH.com: What's the best part about being an NFL football player?
Sims: "I don't know, but I'll find out I guess this weekend!"