Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 9/12/12
ALLEN PARK, Mich. Detroit Lions offensive guard Rob Sims has been pointing to Sundays matchup against San Francisco defensive tackle Justin Smith since the day the NFL schedule was released. It is one of the main reasons why Sims, in his seventh year in the NFL, gained about 15 pounds during the off-season. Sims couldnt handle Smith a year ago in the 49ers' 25-19 victory in Detroit. Smith, who is 6-foot-4, 285 pounds, completely dominated in the trenches. He made nine tackles (eight solo) and 1 sacks. He was definitely one of the guys I had in mind when I was putting the weight on, said Sims, who is 6-3, 313 pounds now. You know Week 2 youre playing Justin Smith. Sims, 28, admitted his mentality is a little different this week. Thats what happens in the NFL when youre going up against one of the best. Smith, 32, a Pro Bowl selection the last three years, is simply relentless. He has started 171 consecutive games and made 154 more tackles than any other defensive lineman in the league since 2001. My wife (Natalie) knows when its Justin Smith week, Sims said. You know, get out of my way. She knows. Her father (former Miami running back Tony Nathan) played in the league and coached in the league. If youve got an important game, your temperament level is a little different when you get home. When you play great players, youve got to have a different mindset. Sims described the difference in how his wife reacts around him during a week like this one. Its How was your day, honey? a lot more than Hey, come change this diaper, Sims said. Smiths 16 sacks since 2010 lead all defensive tackles in the NFL. His teammates and opponents rave about his work ethic. This is his fifth year with the 49ers. He was the No. 4 pick overall by Cincinnati in 2001 and spent his first seven seasons with the Bengals. He just comes to play every single week, every single play, Sims said. Thats what makes it so great. Its an honor to be able to play against a guy like that. He brings it. I have to do the same. This is what a heavyweight fight is going to look like basically, only in football. Sims said he has to be careful not to get too emotional for the matchup. He said he did that last year against Smith and things didnt go too well for him. Hes hoping to redeem himself this time. I wasnt in my right frame of mind, how I am (normally), Sims recalled. Im kind of cool, having a good time. Thats kind of who I am, the player I am. I think I need to revert back to that. Still have a lot of respect for him, just play him heads-up. DONT ASK For Lions coach Jim Schwartz and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, constant questions about their handshake controversy from a year ago is like a reoccurring nightmare these days. Neither one wants to say anything about the incident. When asked about his relationship with Harbaugh, Schwartz answered, I think Ive addressed the situation enough. We can get into Christmas cards and everything else. Im not going to. Harbaugh, meanwhile, was asked whether he plans to shake Schwartzs hand Sunday. His response: Yes. EXTRA POINTS Cornerback Chris Houston returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since suffering a high-ankle sprain in the third preseason game on Aug. 25. Im pushing as hard as I can, Houston said of trying to return to the lineup to face the Niners. Rookie cornerback Bill Bentley wasnt cleared for practice after suffering a concussion in the regular-season opener. His status for Sunday is unclear. Hes doing OK, Schwartz said. Hes got a protocol that he has to go through before hes back. Schwartz, sticking with his typical regular-season policy when it comes to discussing injuries, didnt comment on receiver Calvin Johnson sitting out practice. It might have been simply to give Johnson an extra day of rest.
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