Few people have a weekend quite as hectic or amazing as Aaron Curry had on NFL draft weekend 2009. For a formerly undersized kid from an impoverished family, his story is an especially unlikely one. Despite the odds he has faced, Curry will be taking the field as an NFL player and multimillionaire when the Seahawks begin the season in September.
Believed by many pundits to be the best collegiate player available, Seattle was very excited to see the Wake Forest graduate fall on the draft board, after the three teams picking before the Seahawks all chose players based on need.
Many expected Kansas City to pick Curry, but they instead picked a defensive lineman, which prompted immediate action by Seahawk’s General Manager Tim Ruskell and Head Coach Jim Mora to add the recent college graduate to their team.
When the Seahawks announced the choice of Curry, some were surprised, but not him. “I wasn’t too surprised given the fact they had just given up Julian Peterson” said Curry. “He was a key player in their defense, so why not replace him with another young talent?
Curry will be expected to take the place of Julian Peterson, who departed to Detroit in a trade for Cory Redding earlier this year. Peterson was a big part of the Seahawk’s fearsome trio of linebackers, and Curry will be expected to step in on day one and be every bit as good as the five time pro-bowler.
As a player for the Demon Deacons, Curry proved himself to be one of the all-time best linebackers in college. 320 tackles (including over 100 in 2008) and six interceptions (with a career high four in 2007) are both fantastic numbers, and the size and speed he brings all but guarantee a smooth transition to the NFL field. He is both a proven pass defender and fantastic run stopper, and has shown the ability to rush the passer far better than the average linebacker.
Curry is a very special person off the field as well. On draft day, Curry was joined by Bryson Merriweather, a leukemia patient whom Curry had met while making a visit to St. Jude’s Hospital in Tennessee. He has developed a special bond with the 12 year-old, who went through five rounds of chemotherapy and is now in remission.
Curry is currently searching for a home in the Pacific Northwest, and when he finds it there will be a room for his mother Chris, who became homeless for his senior season but implored him to stay in college. Curry considered declaring for the draft last year in 2008, and was projected to become a third round pick, but stayed at the request of his mother and is making more than enough money to pay off her mortgage.
On draft day, Curry brought his mother, his fiancé, and Merriweather with him into the Radio City Music Hall. When he got the call from coach Mora informing him of his ultimate destination, he was calm, but when his name was announced by commissioner Roger Goodell, Curry hugged his mother and cried before taking the draft hat and walking out on stage to greet the NFL. He was almost immediately flown out to Seattle to meet the organization and Seattle press, and to take his first steps into Qwest Field.