Lions guard Rob Sims, here plowing the way for running back Joique Bell against Washington last season, wants to avoid free agency and re-sign with Detroit. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
Dearborn — Rob Sims, entering his 10th NFL season and the final year of his four-year, $14.2 million deal with Lions, has never been a free agent. And if he had his way he would avoid it again after this season.
“I pray that happens,” said Sims, when asked if he thought a new deal could be worked out before hit free agency next year. “I don’t want to be in a position where I’m getting close to free agency and I have that curiosity to see what I would look like out there on the market.
“I hope and wish and pray I don’t get to that, but sometimes it does.”
Sims, who stabilized what had for years been a gaping hole at left guard in the interior of the Lions offensive line, will be 31 in December. He made it clear Saturday, as he watched his wife Natalie compete for Team Raiola in Stephen Tulloch’s annual charity softball game at Ford Woods Park, that he wants to finish his career in Detroit.
“We would love to be here in Detroit and this be the final (contract),” Sims said. “That’s the whole deal. My family and my kids, we’re comfortable. We’re set up the way we want to be set up. We’ve done well already, so it doesn’t have to be anything crazy. I am not looking to hit a home run, I just want something steady, something we feel like is decent for the output I’ve put up on the field — something we can finish up with.
“We love what we’ve been able to do around here, on the team and in the city. We want that to continue.”
He even intimated that he would consider giving the team a hometown discount.
“We’re not greedy people,” he said. “But we believe that you get what you pay for, as well. We feel that what we’ve been able to do has been good for the team and for the city. We just want to be able to continue to do that.”
Sims has made 64 straight starts at left guard for the Lions since being acquired by a trade from Seattle in 2010. He has been as solid and steady as they come, despite playing through persistent shoulder pain the last two seasons.
Last year was probably the worst of Sims four seasons with the Lions. One poll of NFL executives and scouts done by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ranked Sims last among NFC North left guards.
“The thing I’ve been good with, especially since I’ve been in Detroit, I’ve been able to be consistent,” Sims said. “As an offensive lineman, I don’t think you can ask for much more than that. Larry (Warford, right guard) came on and played really well and was able to help us out. Dom (Raiola, center) had a great year. I still think I was a steady guy, doing my thing.
“Obviously, I was struggling with a few things (injuries). I was happy I was able to stay on the field and play the way I played, and play some of the (elite) names I played against and beat them.”
Sims had surgery in the offseason, presumably on the shoulder though Sims would not confirm or deny that. He has been extremely limited throughout the OTA sessions, not participating in any of the team drills.
“Just a little wear and tear,” he said of the surgery. “After nine years in the league, it was time for a cleanup. I took care of some things I needed to take care of, things that I’ve been battling through the last couple of years.”
Most likely, Sims will remain out of the team drills during the mandatory minicamp this week.
“I will do as much as they let me,” Sims said. “Coach (Jim) Caldwell said, ‘Hey, I need you on Sundays in the fall.’ Fortunately, I have a lot of film so they know what I can do. But I am just like everybody else, I’m ready to get out there and show what I can do.
“But at this point in my career, I am just trying to be as smart as I can.”
Chris McCosky on Twitter @cmccosky