Linebacker Curry vows to play better this season | Seahawks
He says he played "too soft" and was afraid of making mistakes after the Seahawks took him with the No. 4 pick in the 2009 NFL draft.
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — Aaron Curry waited more than seven months for the first day of his second chance at NFL stardom.
"Since our last game last year, I'd been preparing for the first day of camp and really just looking forward to imposing my will on people," Curry said. "Letting everyone know that I'm a new player."
He announced those intentions on Seattle's first day of practice. Loudly. He hit Justin Forsett in the open field during the evening practice on July 31, and then he hit Forsett again during a pass-rush play, bowling Forsett into quarterback Charlie Whiteurst.
Curry's smashing debut was followed by another wait because his headstrong start earned him a concussion. He waited another 10 days for the symptoms of a concussion to clear. He returned to practice Tuesday, resuming his comeback from a rookie season he regarded as wholly unsatisfying.
"Last year, I wasn't the same guy that was drafted," Curry said. "I was playing too soft and worried about making mistakes."
Now, Curry's being a little dramatic here. It's not like his whole rookie season was a wash. He stood out the first five games of the season. He had the whole Rams offense fuming mad at him the first week, he forced an important fumble against Chicago in Week 3 and then he was a singularly destructive force in the Seahawks' shutout victory over Jacksonville in Week 5.
That week turned out to be the tipping point of Curry's season. He didn't have a sack the rest of the year, he struggled when he dropped into pass protection and his diet of plays was reduced. Finally, he missed the last two games because of injuries.
It wasn't a disaster, but it certainly wasn't what was expected when Seattle chose him with the fourth overall pick in April 2009, the highest any linebacker was drafted since Washington picked LaVar Arrington No. 2 in 2000.
And linebacker isn't one of those positions with a steep learning curve since the job assignment doesn't have to be much more complicated than seek and destroy. So what went wrong?
"I was so worried about making mistakes and trying to be the smartest player versus just being the guy I was," Curry said. "Just a fast, physical, running-around-hitting-everything kind of guy."
The kind of guy that had Pete Carroll's attention the minute he walked in the door as Seahawks coach. Carroll's first day on the job in Seattle began with a request for defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. He wanted a compilation of game tape featuring Curry. He wanted to start looking at ways to use this 6-foot-2, 252-pound cruise missile.
Carroll told Curry that he was too big, too athletic not to be making impact plays regularly, and then the coach set about implementing a defense that would call for Curry to make fewer pre-snap adjustments and to get a larger diet of pass-rush plays.
Curry waited all offseason to begin hitting again, and after jogging his noggin that first day he had to wait through another week and a half. But on Tuesday, Curry returned to the field, resuming his headlong sprint toward a sophomore season he is determined will constitute an improvement.
"This year, the coaches are putting everybody on our defense in a position where we're allowed to be more aggressive," Curry said. "Mistakes are mistakes, so be it. As long as we're doing it full speed, we'll be OK."
And after missing the past 10 days, Curry is certainly in a hurry to get back up to speed in time for Saturday's exhibition game against Tennessee.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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