By Victor Milani
Rob Sims was a 2002 graduate of Nordonia High School. He earned 8 varsity letters and All-Conference honors while participating in football, basketball, and track. In football, Rob was a three-year starter earning 1st team All-Ohio honors his senior year. He earned a 90% blocking efficiency grade and had 60 knockdowns on offense while on defense he recorded 26 tackles, 6 sacks, and caused 5 fumbles. He was nominated to the ABJ, PD, and AP All-District teams his Jr. and Sr. seasons. Rob was an award winner at both the Akron and Columbus Buckeye Touchdown Clubs. His senior season he was ranked as the 15th best player in the state. He was offered 32 Div. I scholarships and chose OSU to further his education and football career. At OSU he started 40 games, won 2 Big 10 championships and 1 National Championship. In 2006 he was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the 4th round. In basketball, Rob still holds the record for the best FG% in a season with 64%. He competed on the track team for two years earning All-Ohio honors his senior year by placing 4th at the state meet in the shot-put with a throw of 56’8.5”. That distance is the 2nd best in school history.
Rob was a starter for the Seattle Seahawks and the Detroit Lions for nine seasons as their starting guard. Rob retired at the beginning of the 2015 NFL season (click here for related article with VIDEO). Annually, Rob Sims holds the Mickey Sims Charity Golf Outing in Akron. It is in honor of his late father Mickey, who played also in the NFL with The Cleveland Browns. Rob, while not wanting recognition or notoriety, has been very supportive of the Nordonia High School football program for many years. He didn’t forget where he came from, or his hometown of Macedonia! Sims now lives with his wife Natalie and their two children Mikaella and Robert III in the Detroit area.
Rob Sims On Fatherhood, Legacy And Giving Back
As a professional football player in Seattle and Detroit, Rob Sims has taken and given out his share of punishment. But nothing could prepare the 6’3, 320-pound guard for the blow he took just a month after he was drafted in 2006 – the passing of his father Mickey, also a former professional football player for the Cleveland Browns.
“You can imagine, I’m at the height [of success], you know what I mean?” remembers Rob. “And then one call. Boom. It’s done.”
In the months and years that followed, Sims struggled with the void left by his father, known in his playing days as the “Gentle Giant,” whom Sims remembers as “a real country man” from Union, South Carolina.
“He was just the best person you would ever meet,” Sims said. “He would take anybody in. He would feed anybody; clothe anybody, anything he could do.”
Finding help, delivering a message of hope
Despite his success in the years following his father’s passing, Sims found himself feeling empty – until he was able to work through his long-standing grief and focus his attention back out to the community, living the way his father would have lived and helping others who suffer loss like he did.
Sims and his family have learned to take their love of Mickey and focus it outward. Now, Sims honors his father by helping others who are on the same journey and raising funds for Cornerstone of Hope so that it can help others find peace.
Cornerstone of Hope, in Cleveland, Ohio, was founded by Mark Tripodi and his wife, Christy, after the loss of their son.
“When we tried to find support in our town, in our community, it was exhausting,” Tripodi remembers. “I’m proud to say that we’ve been in the community for many years now. And all of our programs are geared towards serving grieving children, teens and adults.”
A father’s lasting legacy
And Sims reminds others through his words and deeds what it means to be a father and to leave a lasting legacy: from the memories of a life well lived that children carry, to ensuring the economic security of the family through life insurance and financial responsibility, to doing good works in the community that last long after a man is gone.
“Everybody’s got a time, everybody has got a day when it’s going to be over,” Sims says. “But you leave your mark, just by being the person you are while you’re here and setting your family up for the future.”
Thank you to Athletic Director Rob Eckenrode and his assistant Ron Gura for information for this story.