Originally published May 10, 2014 at 07:03p.m., updated May 11, 2014 at 12:30a.m.

James Sims picked up by Green Bay

Kansas running back James Sims salutes a pack of KU fans after his touchdown against Texas Tech during the first quarter on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas.

Kansas running back James Sims salutes a pack of KU fans after his touchdown against Texas Tech during the first quarter on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas.


Former Kansas University running back James Sims waited for 256 names to be called during this weekend’s NFL Draft, but never heard his own.

However, about an hour after the seven-round draft ended Saturday evening, Sims finalized a free-agent deal with the Green Bay Packers and will begin pursuit of his NFL career as a teammate of Aaron Rodgers, the all-pro quarterback who visited Allen Fieldhouse this past season.

Sims, a 6-foot, 200-pound back from Irving, Texas, was regarded by most as a long shot to get drafted and seemed upbeat after deciding to join the Packers.

“Draft is over and ya boy is gonna be a Green Bay Packer,” Sims wrote on Twitter on Saturday night, his first tweet in 143 days. “#Blessed#Hungry#Humble#TimeToEat.”

In what turned out to be a down draft for Big 12 football, Kansas and Texas were the only conference teams not to have a player drafted.

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. He was the first Jayhawk in history to record back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and left KU third on the all-time rushing list (3,592) and second all-time in rushing touchdowns (34) and 100-yard games (16).

It certainly has become common to see draft-eligible Jayhawks go unselected, but it does not spell the end for Sims’ chances. Inspired by the success of former Jayhawks Chris Harris and Steven Johnson, both undrafted prospects who were key members of the Denver Broncos’ Super Bowl run last season, Sims maintained throughout the draft prep process that he believed he would have a shot whether he was drafted.

“Not going through the season at Kansas is going to be different,” Sims said in March. “But I’m just anxious to see where I end up next fall and take things from there. I just have to prove myself again. That’s nothing new for me.”

In other KU draft news, KU officials confirmed that offensive lineman Aslam Sterling, 6-5, 315, has agreed to a free-agent deal with the Denver Broncos. Sterling started 20 games during his two seasons as a Jayhawk after transferring from Nassau Community College in New York.

Wide receiver Josh Ford, 6-3, 207, also announced via Twitter that he had been picked up by the Atlanta Falcons. Ford, a juco transfer from Arizona Western, made little impact as a receiver during his two seasons at Kansas but caught the eye of NFL scouts because of his strong play on special teams.


Chris Gilbertson 6 years, 10 months ago

That's so awesome! Can't wait to see him play on Sundays!

Gerry Butler 6 years, 10 months ago

well that just made my day. that's awesome news for me personally. I'm a HUGE green bay fan, thought it was so cool when Aaron came for the ball game in allen. hope sims can make a stick with the pack, back when he was in college I COULD NOT stand jordy nelson because he was from that other school, but boy how I have ever grown to lie him now. he is a outstanding receiver and he fits really nice in green bay now just got to pull for my boy james you can do it buddy, jst be tough grind it out I know you can

Jack Jones 6 years, 9 months ago

The best news to come out of the draft. Whether you are drafted #1, or as a free agent, a chance is all you can ask for and James has his. Good luck, James.

Bryce Landon 6 years, 9 months ago

Maybe Sims can use the fact that he was undrafted as a chip on his shoulder to make himself excel and become a vital piece of the Packers' lineup. Personally, though, I'd have preferred to see Sims in a Chiefs uniform.

Mark Lindrud 6 years, 9 months ago

Well that's how it goes, but makes me happy that guys got picked up quickly after the draft. Go get em!

W Keith Swinehart II 6 years, 9 months ago

I am so glad for the three; really happy for Sims.

Jay Beakum 6 years, 9 months ago

Never understood why they only do bench press at the combine and the pro days. You’d think they would want to see leg strength in there just as much as chest/arm strength. Sims’ Rivals page from his high school days lists his squat at 600 some-odd pounds. That’s insane for a 200 pound high school kid. I can’t imagine what he’s putting up now, but I would guess it would’ve gotten somebody’s attention enough to take a chance in the draft.

Any which way, it’s great he’s getting a shot. I think he’ll make the most of it. Honestly if he had more top-end speed he would’ve been a 3rd or 4th rounder, even with the drop off in drafting RB’s.

David A. Smith 6 years, 9 months ago

Now for Tarik at TE for the Pack! How sweet would it be to have him block for James on a sweep?

Michael Leiker 6 years, 9 months ago

Packers seem to have a thing for HCTG running back recruits in late rounds, hopefully Sims sees the same kind of success Starks has seen.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 9 months ago

Are these "free agent deals" more than just training camp invites?

Sims may not have elite speed, but he's got excellent running back skills. I can't wait to hear about his success in the NFL?

Kyle Rohde 6 years, 9 months ago

The Packers are extremely deep at RB, so Sims has a tough road ahead of him to make that roster but, even if he doesn't, hopefully he can show his talent and get picked up by somebody else.

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