Okay, word is that the Seahawks are not expecting to have comments or statements on the Aaron Curry situation today. The understanding here is that the terms of a trade with Oakland are agreed upon, but must be approved by the league. It is possible things could come together and be made official tonight.
Speculation is that the Seahawks will receive a low pick in the next draft and a condition pick the following draft depending on Curry’s performance.
Neither coach Pete Carroll nor GM John Schneider took questions Wednesday as the deal was not official. It was obvious that Curry was not at practice Wednesday morning, and when the open-locker-room session began, it was clear that his locker had been emptied.
To receive two low picks for the fourth player chosen in the 2009 draft represents a stunning devaluation. And that’s not mentioning the $34 million he was guaranteed. Curry was scheduled to make roughly $10 million in base salary and bonuses this season. Oakland’s critical shortage of linebackers due to injuries made the Raiders a possible trading partner even for a player whose production had not matched his expense.
Curry was considered one of the safest picks of 2009. But three linebackers taken after Curry in the first round of that draft (Brian Orakpo, Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews) already have Pro Bowl honors on their resumes.
He was the highest draft pick in the tenure of former team president Tim Ruskell. Of the four first-round picks in the Ruskell regime, all have been cut, traded or allowed to leave unsigned, including Chris Spencer, Kelly Jennings, Lawrence Jackson and now Curry. The first pick of the ’07 draft, meanwhile, was traded to New England for receiver Deion Branch, who was traded back to the Pats last season after disappointing production in Seattle.
Although Curry was gone and the staff had no comment, some players addressed his career, and all mentioned the pressures and high expectations he faced as the fourth player drafted that season.
“I knew him outside of work, and he was a good man,” Red Bryant said. “I think he had a lot of pressures he had to endure … there’s a lot of expectation on a fourth pick. I can’t speak to how he feels, but just being one of his teammates, I don’t feel like he was probably as ready as he could have been. He was getting $34 million guaranteed, and you’re the first linebacker taken in a class of Clay Matthews, Brian Orakpo and Brian Cushing. I just hope him well in his new opportunity.”
Veteran linebacker Leroy Hill, one of just nine Seahawk players who predates the arrival of Carroll and Schneider in 2010, said Curry came in and said his good-byes to his teammates.
“He said how much he had learned from us and how much he is going to miss us and everything,” Hill said. “I think now he won’t have all those high expectations that he had here, so he can just relax and play ball. I wish him luck and I think everything will work out for him.”
Hill, a third-round pick in 2005, said he could not imagine the pressures Curry faced.
“I think there were extra expectations for him,” he said. “The first year (for him) was kind of slow and the second year was a little slower than everybody wanted and that weight just started bearing on him.”
The criticisms of Curry included his lack of instinctual play. In his first season, he was expected to be an edge pass rusher, but rarely came up with big plays. When he was asked to drop back into coverage, he appeared to lose track of receivers or drop potential interceptions.
After Curry struggled in the second game this season against Pittsburgh, the staff gave Wright a chance to start in his place. Afterward, Curry said he was at peace with the demotion because of his strong faith, and that he would stay focused on improving as a player.
“He was one of the first guys who took me under his wing,” Wright said of Curry. “He just told me what to expect when I came into the NFL — how to be a pro — he just taught me a whole lot.”
Wright said that Curry told him that he would embrace the fresh start and show the team “who he is and just show them what kind of person he is.” Curry thanked coach Ken Norton and his fellow linebackers, Wright said. “So, he’s just starting over. I think it’s going to work out good for him. He seems focused.”
The Seahawks have a bye this Sunday, and after Wednesday’s practice, the players dispersed to enjoy four days off.