Nick Saban vouches for Phillip Sims
Nick Saban is sometimes portrayed as a cold and calculating task master, one who only cares about winning. Some around the country love to paint the 63-year-old University of Alabama head coach in that manner.
But those close to him don't see him that way. Even former players that left the Crimson Tide program to go elsewhere.
Just because a player leaves doesn't signal the end of the relationship between coach and player. Robbie Green and Prince Hall, both dismissed from the program, have come back to work camps at Alabama or to drop in on their former coach.
Then there's Phillip Sims, who had the opportunity to return to Alabama in 2014 after transferring in 2012. Sims transferred to Virginia after losing the starting quarterback competition to AJ McCarron. He ultimately landed at Winston Salem State, where he played in 2014 and led the Rams to a 9-2 season.
But Sims kept a relationship with Saban, one that went both ways.
In a letter obtained by The Tuscaloosa News, Saban wrote a letter to NFL teams on Sims' behalf, extolling the virtues of the 6-foot-3, 226-pound quarterback.
Sims has hopes of being picked up by an NFL team for the 2015 season and Saban's words make up one heck of a recommendation letter.
"I believe Phillip Sims has the mental acumen and physical tools to be an asset for a team in the National Football League," Saban wrote. "He is hard-working, driven, tough and a coachable player."
Sims completed 60 percent of his throws, passing for 1,560 yards and 15 touchdowns against four interceptions in 11 games during his senior season in 2014.
After not being invited to the NFL Combine last month, Sims recently competed in Wake Forest's Pro Day with a strong showing that opened the eyes of some NFL scouts.
In the letter, Saban praises the competitive drive and off-the-field character of Sims.
"I found him to be a quick study who was always ready and eager to learn," Saban wrote. "He is a special young man who always followed direction and did things the right way. He was a natural leader both in the classroom and on the field, won numerous Scout Team Player of the Week awards, and was well liked by his peers and coaches. Phillip also served as a member of our leadership team and won the Ozzie Newsome Award.
"I stand behind Phillip and wholeheartedly endorse him as a player and as a man."
Reach Aaron Suttles at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.