On Tuesday, Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker was a free agent waiting for a phone call. One of the calls he received was from a very familiar number, it was the Jaguars. "I almost hung it up trying to answer it," Sims-Walker told the media yesterday. "I definitely call it coming home," said Sims-Walker, who was with the Jaguars from 2007 to 2010. "This is the place that drafted me. This is a place that put a lot of trust in me and believed in me for so long. We had some good times and bad times, but at the end of the day, we miss each other. No question about it."
Sims-Walker dealt with a lot early in his career, being placed on injured reserve with a knee injury on his rookie season. The next season Sims-Walker once again dealt with a knee injury and a case of staph, the murder of his best friend, and then the death of his father two days later. He broke out for the Jaguars in the 2009 season leading the team in receptions, yards, and touchdown receptions. He was allowed to walk in free agency after a disappointing 2010 season, but Sims-Walker kept in touch with his Jaguars teammates and also did something a lot of players fail to do when they leave.
He didn't burn any bridges.
There was some reported bad blood between Sims-Walker and the Jaguars when he left, some in the media citing him being too "diva-ish", but Sims-Walker claims there's no bad blood and there never was. "We didn't leave on bad terms. There were no bridges burned. We just didn't come to an agreement," Sims-Walker said about his departure in free agency. "It wasn't anything against one another. I just wanted to see what was out there for me and try something different."
The Jaguars bring Sims-Walker back, hoping they can get something similar to his 2009 season when he caught 63 balls for 869 yards and 7 touchdowns. On the season so far, the Jaguars receivers have just over 600 yards and 3 touchdowns. "I'm just here to work. I don't want to put expectations on it," Sims-Walker said of his expectations. My main thing is just to turn this thing around, get a win. That's the No. 1 goal right now. Winning makes everything different."
Sims-Walker was spotted yesterday watching film with his new quarterback, rookie Blaine Gabbert. Sims-Walker said he watched Gabbert in the preseason when the Rams played the Jaguars. Mike played only the first quarter, so he was able to get a good look at his new quarterback in the second half. "He has a cannon. He makes all the throws. He's a strong-armed guy, and I'm looking forward to being able to go out and work with him," Sims-Walker said of Gabbert.
"You don't get too many opportunities like this, and you definitely want to take advantage of them," Sims-Walker told the media.
The whole situation in testing free agency and being unsuccessful with the St. Louis Rams seems to have left Sims-Walker a humbled player, eager to prove he belongs and can be productive. "Over time, going through what I've been through and seeing a lot of things in this league, I have a better grasp of it," said Sims-Walker. "I'm hungry. I still feel young, and I still feel like there's a mission to complete. I'm here to work. I want to get restarted. The season's still young. We have a chance to do some good things. I want to get at it."