View Full Version : Teicher: Pair of Heels reunite

09-16-2004, 01:41 AM

Pair of Heels reunite

Peppers, Sims were high picks from Carolina

By ADAM TEICHER The Kansas City Star

Don't be surprised if sometime during pre-game festivities Sunday, Ryan Sims hits up an old college teammate, Julius Peppers, for a few bucks.

If so, Peppers has every right to ask Sims for some coin in return.

Each player made the other a high draft pick — and by extension very rich — when they played together at the University of North Carolina. Some of the fat contracts that each was given by his respective team can be traced to the considerable feats of the other.

The players are on opposite sides as pros for the first time Sunday when Sims' Chiefs play Peppers' Carolina Panthers at Arrowhead Stadium. Both have underachieved since leaving college, and perhaps just being on the same field will rekindle what they once had.

In 2001, their last season at North Carolina, what Peppers and Sims had was considerable. They were a dynamic outside-inside, defensive end-defensive tackle duo.

“We had some very good defensive players that year, but those guys were tough together,” said North Carolina coach John Bunting, a former Chiefs assistant. “Julius had such a great work ethic, and Ryan — on game day, Ryan was a beast, an absolute beast. He had a great senior year. He absolutely dominated Auburn when we played them in the Peach Bowl.

“We started out the season 0-3, but those guys didn't wallow in their pity. They went out and had their best game of the season, and we beat Florida State and turned things around. They were all over the field that day. They responded just the way you hoped they would respond.

“I'd certainly like to have those two guys back. Maybe they can loan me them for a few Saturdays.”

Peppers, who wound up going to the Panthers with the No. 2 pick of the draft, would have been a premier choice even without the help of Sims, who was drafted sixth. A superb athlete who also played basketball at North Carolina, Peppers was one of the best, if not the best, pass-rush prospects to come along in many years.

“Peppers was like a freak of nature,” said Lynn Stiles, the Chiefs' vice president of football operations. “He had all the ability and understood how to play with leverage and had all the instincts. My wife could have picked him out as a football player. As a college player, he was well beyond his time.”

The presence of Sims, though, helped the production of Peppers, who had 9 1/2 sacks that season

“Any good defensive end with a lot of sacks, it starts from the inside and works out,” Sims said. “If the defensive tackles aren't doing their job, the quarterback can always step up in the pocket. He's got that kind of guy now. (Kris) Jenkins is probably the best defensive tackle in the league right now. He's on top of his game.”

Sims, meanwhile, was hardly on the radar of most NFL teams before his senior season.

“I remember back in the spring of their last year here telling people Ryan would be a third- or fourth-round draft pick the next year,” Bunting said. “Everybody looked at me like I was crazy. That was considered too high for him at the time.”

Sims initially attracted attention only because he was Peppers' teammate.

“My coaches would always tell me that pro scouts would come up to them and say something like, ‘I was watching Julius, but who's that No. 87?' ” Sims said. “I can say he got me drafted because he's the one that got everybody looking at the film. Everybody wanted to see him, and luckily, a few teams saw me, too.”

Stiles, typical of most scouts watching North Carolina, went to a Tar Heels game to see Peppers. The first thing he did when he arrived was talk to Bunting.

“He pointed out that I might like to look at this guy named Ryan Sims,” Stiles said. “Based on his preseason ranking, I didn't anticipate seeing this quality of player. Coming out of the spring, he wasn't considered a higher-echelon player, a first- or second-round player.”

Sims continued to play well and eventually was drafted by the Chiefs with the sixth pick, or four behind Peppers.

Neither player has yet to live up to the hype. Peppers got off to a good start with 12 sacks as a rookie, but dropped off to seven last year after sitting out four games and wasn't much of a factor in Carolina's Monday night loss to Green Bay.

“He wants to be a great player and he's in that process,” Carolina coach John Fox said. “He's a young player who has things to improve on and some growing to do.”

Sims, after a wasted rookie season that started late because of contract negotiations and ended early because of an injury, hasn't become the consistently dominant player the Chiefs hoped for.

“He's making some strides, some good strides,” Stiles said. “He'll flash on you. The thing with him is consistency. In due course, it should all come together. Within the framework of the system we're now using, there's no reason he can't become the type of player that we'd like to see this season.

“He played what I call a solid game against Denver. There were times when he was outstanding. I can't remember any necessarily negative plays. He was solid across the board. I believe there's more there. He has all the tools we're looking for. It's time to stop talking about it and start doing it.”

09-16-2004, 01:43 AM
Maybe someone will step up and be the Peppers on this team to compliment Sims.

09-16-2004, 01:47 AM
Respek. I really tink dat Peppers are good. I like da salt also. 'Specially in me marg'ritas.

go bo
09-16-2004, 02:17 AM
Maybe someone will step up and be the Peppers on this team to compliment Sims.can rich scanlon play de?? :shrug:

KC Jones
09-16-2004, 02:23 AM
Maybe someone will step up and be the Peppers on this team to compliment Sims.

And Maybe Siavii can become in the NFL what Sims was in the NCAA :(

09-16-2004, 02:24 AM
Maybe Sims needs to quit stepping up to the Buffet.