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Patriots Decried by Agent : Pro football: He says former New England lineman Sims should have been given counseling before being waived.

June 30, 1990|JIM HODGES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

BOSTON — The agent for waived New England Patriot defensive end Kenneth Sims said Friday that the team failed to adhere to the NFL's drug policy in not providing counseling after Sims had tested positive for banned substances.

Agent Witt Stewart of Sherman Oaks threatened to sue the NFL, saying "Nobody knows what the drug policy is."

Although the league has an established drug policy, it has been under fire recently. That criticism resulted in the resignation of Dr. Forest Tennant as the NFL's drug adviser Feb. 23.

Patrick Sullivan, Patriot general manager, told Boston television station WCVB Friday that, in accordance with the drug guidelines, Sims had been offered counseling.

"We made an effort to pay for Kenneth Sims' rehabilitation before he was waived," Sullivan said. "That offer still exists."

Stewart said Friday that the only offer made to Sims was on June 19, when he was waived.

"Patrick said the club would pay the deductible on the insurance policy," said Stewart, adding that Sims was considering obtaining counseling in his home state of Texas.

Sims cleared waivers Friday.

The 1981 Outland Trophy winner as college football's best lineman, Sims, of the University of Texas, was the first player chosen in the 1982 NFL draft.

In 1985, Sims was among a group of six Patriots who tested positive for marijuana. The tests received additional notoriety when it was learned that their results were not released until the club had played the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX in January of 1986.

In August, 1987, test results showed Sims to have cocaine in his system, according to documents revealed by Washington television reporter Roberta Baskin Friday at an Associated Press Sports Editors' seminar here.

Stewart said that the test was used only to make Sims take additional tests, which he passed until September of 1988, when results showed a trace of cocaine in his system. Stewart said Sims denied having used cocaine during that period.

At no time during that period had Sims been offered counseling, Stewart said.

Sims signed a two-year contract with the Patriots May 24 that would have paid him $300,000 for the 1990 season and $400,000 in 1991, plus bonuses. He was arrested for allegedly driving 85 m.p.h. on an Austin (Tex.) freeway in early June. Police said that while he was getting out his driver's license, an envelope said to contain two-tenths of a gram of cocaine fell from Sims' wallet. A charge for possession was lodged.

The Patriots then waived Sims, saying he had not been in good enough physical condition during a mini-camp.

Stewart said he had sought clarification of Sims' drug status with the league and had been told, "I don't know" by Sullivan, who instructed him to call the NFL. Stewart said the league office has not returned his three phone calls.

Attempts to reach Sullivan at his vacation home on Cape Cod Friday were unsuccessful.

Stewart said that the Patriots' action and the furor surrounding Tennant's resignation shows that whatever policy the NFL has is "not about helping anybody. It's about policing people."

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