Not all journeys in the NFL are the same, and while Cam Sims’ time in the league has not been one filled with long term contracts, he's found a way to make his mark.
That determination comes from some valuable lessons he learned from his childhood.
"Coming up from Monroe, Louisiana, you had to do your thing and always work," Sims said on the "Players' Club" podcast. "I've always had that worker's mentality."
The desire to grind no matter what situations unfolded around him led Sims to becoming a four-star recruit at Ouchita Parish High School. It earned a scholarship with the University of Alabama, but he had few opportunities in his first two seasons with 13 receptions for 108 yards.
Sims put his head down and put in the work to become a contributor in his junior and senior seasons. He exponentially increased his receptions (28) and yardage (359) in that span. He finished his career with two national championships.
The Alabama product's NFL career did not get off to a fairytale start as he went undrafted in 2018. He later signed with the Washington Football Team -- only to suffer a season-ending ankle injury in the first game of his rookie season.
Since then, the wide receiver has navigated a dizzying series of ups and downs. He was waived and re-signed by Washington ahead of the 2019 season. The same process happened two more times in October and November of that year.
Sims' resilience has been key to handling the waves. He traces that grit back to his upbringing in a big family in one of the country's poorest states as well as his mentality to "stay down until you come up." He drew inspiration from his grandmother, who had eight kids and still managed to provide for them.
"My mom, she always said, 'Stay focused, stay in the [play]book,'" Sims said. "So I really couldn't just do any complaining. I just always stayed grinding."
The 2020 season started in the same fashion, but this time was a little different. Sims grabbed his first-career touchdown against the New York Giants in Week 9, and that started a breakout stretch that included 32 receptions for 477 yards.
Now heading into his fourth season, Sims has become a valuable member of Washington's receiving corps. And one of his best showings came when Washington needed it most against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card round of the 2020 playoffs. Although Washington could not pull out the win, Sims finished with seven receptions for 104 yards.
"He's one of the smartest guys in the room, in terms of being able to move him around," said receivers coach Drew Terrell. "He's doing a really good job."
There's been a lot of turbulence over the course of Sims' career so far. Thanks to relying on the work ethic he learned at an early age, it's been smooth sailing for the past year, and he's focused on making sure it stays that way.
For more insight on Sims and his career, take some time to listen to "The Player's Club" podcast.