Sims reminisces about his personal zoo

IRVING, Texas – Cowboys linebacker Ernie Sims wants to set the record straight: He did not give Louis Delmas an alligator egg.

It was a baby alligator, a little guy about six inches long, back when they were teammates with the Detroit Lions.

That gator, which has grown to about six feet long, is in the news this week because Delmas gave it up at the request of his new roommate, former Cowboys receiver Kevin Ogletree, who signed with the Lions a few weeks ago. Allen Park Critter Shop owner Rick Simms, a friend of Sims who made a lot of money off the linebacker, picked up the gator named Mojo.

During his four seasons with the Lions, Sims turned the basement of his suburban Detroit condo into a zoo. A partial list of his exotic animals:

  • Black-tip sharks and exotic fish that swam around in an 1,800-gallon saltwater aquarium.

  • Two alligators

  • Several lizards, highlighted by an iguana named Godzilla that Sims says he “used to take everywhere.”

  • Several specially-bred snakes, including a 14-foot albino Burmese python who he occasionally let roam around the front yard.

  • Exotic birds

  • Dart frogs

The food bill for all those critters: “About a grand per week.”

Sims gave all the animals back to the shop owner after leaving Detroit. He’s renting out his condo, but he said the woman living there still refuses to step foot in the basement.

Sims has more traditional pets now at his offseason home in rural Georgia, such as dogs, goats, cows and a donkey that his 2-year-old son occasionally rides.

“My little man,” Sims said, “that joker is exotic.”