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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Kansas’ James Sims left off NFL Combine invite list

Kansas running back James Sims breaks through the West Virginia defense for yardage during the first quarter on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas running back James Sims breaks through the West Virginia defense for yardage during the first quarter on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 at Memorial Stadium.

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Former Kansas University running back James Sims has been here before.

Overlooked by those who sent out the invitations to the NFL Combine, which starts Saturday and runs through Feb. 25, Sims finds himself in the familiar position of having to prove himself without any help from anyone else.

He did exactly that for four seasons at Kansas, where he heard year after year that someone new, someone better, was heading to campus to take his starting spot in the Jayhawks’ backfield. It never happened, of course, and Sims finished his Kansas career as a four-year starter who led the team in rushing for four consecutive seasons and set career-highs each time.

The totals left him with the third-highest career rushing total (3,592) in KU history and second all-time in rushing touchdowns (34) and 100-yard games (16).

While those accomplishments forever will be a part of his KU legacy, they mean very little right now, as Sims is focusing his efforts on earning a spot in the NFL.

KU coach Charlie Weis said throughout his two seasons with Sims that the 6-foot, 200-pound tailback had all the tools needed to make it in the NFL and play for a long time.

“He doesn’t have a glaring weakness,” Weis said. “I can’t see one reason why he wouldn’t play on Sunday. I think he’s a nice, solid player. I’d want him on my team.”

Sims’ omission from the NFL Combine hardly spells the end of his hopes at a pro career. Although Combine attendance has proven to be a solid indicator of how one will fare in the NFL Draft — May 8-10 — it is not the end-all be-all of one’s chances at making an NFL roster.

In recent years, Kansas has become the poster school for unheralded players finding their way onto an NFL roster after going undrafted. Last season, former KU players Chris Harris and Steven Johnson held down starting roles during the Denver Broncos’ run to the Super Bowl. Neither player was drafted, and only Johnson participated in the Combine.

Kansas is the only school of the Big 5 BCS football conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC) not to have a player invited to this year’s Combine. And while that might sting in some ways, for a guy like Sims, who never cared much for individual accolades or personal glory, it seems fitting.

As his final season at KU wound down, Sims opened up a little about his goal of playing professional football, something he said he never believed was possible just four years ago.

“I’ve thought about it a lot,” he said. “The NFL … it’s everyone’s dream to go there, and only a select few get chosen to go there. I’m a step closer to getting there. ... I’m just hoping for the best.”

Comments

John Miller 2 months ago

Kansas is the only school of the Big 5 BCS football conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC) not to have a player invited to this year’s Combine

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Randy Bombardier 2 months ago

wow. well you can't keep a guy like that down. He's an overcomer. This will just make it sweeter when he busts in the door.

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Aaron Paisley 2 months ago

I don't think Sims will get drafted because the value of RB's has diminished so much over the past few years. James Sims to me is an Emmitt Smith type in that he may not have many glaring weaknesses, but he also doesn't have any attributes that really stand out either. James Sims will make a roster and will be a solid NFL back.

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Randy Signor 2 months ago

Oh, yeah, that makes sense, Big-12 leading rusher doesn't get a look?

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Glen Miller 2 months ago

How in God's creation Crist got a invite and Sims did not is beyond me. This kid has been a good player on a not very good team for 4 years and has done more with less than any back in the country. He's got the size, vision, toughness and speed to compete in the NFL and it sickens me that he's not invited to the combine. I have seen some of those who have been invited and he deserves and invite over many of these other fools. I hope my Chiefs pick him up. The kid can just play ball and those are the kind of players that have long careers.

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Charlie B. Gonesoon 2 months ago

Any one with 4 super bowl rings ought to be able to get one of his players invited to the combine.

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Dirk Medema 2 months ago

When are KU pro days? Charlie will gets scouts on campus and get James a shot.

Are there other candidates for Sundays?

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Mark Lindrud 2 months ago

There will still be ways to either get recognized so he can either get drafted or make a roster. He's determined enough take it happen.

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