Before he played with All-Pro teammates in Dallas, Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin played with all-star teammates at the University of Miami.
There was Melvin Bratton … and Bennie Blades … and Brian Blades … and Vinny Testaverde … and Jerome Brown … and Cleveland Gary … and Randal Hill … and Alonzo Highsmith … and Russell Maryland … and Brett Perriman, Winston Moss and Steve Walsh.
I think you get the idea. Michael Irvin orbited in a galaxy of stars.
So the obvious question: Who was the most talented teammate he played with at The U? Testaverde was the first pick of the 1987 draft. Maryland was the first pick in 1991. Highsmith was a high first-rounder. So was Bennie Blades. So was Brown.
And, of course, so was Michael Irvin.
So, with that many accomplished players around Irvin, who was the most talented? We asked him on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast as part of our College Draft Series, and Irvin’s answer may surprise you.
It did us.
“That’s a good question,” he said. “I played with so many talented players at the University of Miami. I thought Melvin Bratton was a phenomenal talent at the University of Miami. But there was also a cornerback there named Tim Sims.
“Tim Sims was a very good friend of mine. He and I went up against each other every day in practice. He was big, he was strong and he played cornerback. (He was) fast, and he could press; he could play. So he gave me some great battles — great battles — and by the time I got ready to play against other guys I was like, ‘Aw, this is nothing compared to what Tim gave me on the line of scrimmage.’ ”
Sims was a cornerback out of Belle Glade, Fla., and was a senior when Irvin was a sophomore at Miami. He didn’t make much of an impression on the NFL, but he did with Irvin, who wasted no time talking up his former teammate.
“He never really played in the NFL,” Irvin said, “but I would venture to say Tim Sims was no doubt the most gifted football player at the University of Miami.”
Surprised? Get in line.