RENTON, Washington (AP) – Aaron Curry envisions himself a day in the future standing at the front of the room with his measured voice and commanding presence in a role his current boss could not have imagined a decade ago.
Pete Carroll never thought of Curry as a potential coach when he was a player for the Seattle Seahawks. And now that Curry is on his third season with the Seahawks, Carroll sees no limits to where his former player can go.
“I was surprised and absolutely overwhelmed by how far he came so quickly,” said Carroll. “He’s an incredible part of what our people are all about right now. He has the feel, he has the performance and he has a really good mentality when it comes to dealing with players, talking to them and challenging them. “
Once considered a failure as a player, Curry reinvented his football life, finding himself back in the NFL and on a path he hopes will one day reach the position of head coach.
An ambitious goal when you consider that he is only in his third season as an assistant. But Curry is clear and concise in what he wants to achieve and how he believes he can achieve it.
“If you’re passionate about it, you just leave. You wake up every day and just leave and nothing can stop me, ”Curry said. “Nothing that can stop me from getting where I want to go and just stick to handling what I have to do and focus on what I can do right now and make sure that we can win championships here in Seattle. “
Weekly through the end of the regular season, The Associated Press will look at the NFL coaching pipeline from the perspective of the coaches and executives striving for the top jobs on and off the field, and the league institutions that have hampered them in their pursuit of this influential positions.
Curry’s career as a player has been a disappointment. Curry, number 4 in the Seahawks’ 2009 draft, was viewed as a “not to be missed” annoying linebacker from the outside.
He was out of the league by 2013. Curry lost his role in Seattle during Carroll’s second season in 2011. He was traded for the Raiders, spent parts of two unfulfilled seasons in Oakland and finally ended his career as a training camp with the New York Giants in the summer of 2013.
Curry played a total of 48 games with 39 starts, 5 1/2 sacks, and loads of unmatched promises.
But coaching first came to Curry’s mind during his time with the Raiders. While injured, Curry helped his teammates break open the film and learn the playbook.
“I realized that I liked it a lot,” said Curry. “I enjoyed watching guys from the mental part of the game succeed. And during these days I noticed that I can be really good at coaching. “
But returning to the NFL as a coach wasn’t a linear path. He began as an intern in strength and conditioning training and as a research assistant with Charlotte. As he put it, Curry said, “I was the best weight cleaner in the country.”
“I took pride in scrubbing bars. I took pride in cleaning the weights and bumpers, mopping the floor, and vacuuming the lawn. I took pride in folding towels and stuff, ”Curry continued. “Because I spent a lot of time with players during that time.”
Curry eventually became a defensive assistant at Charlotte while earning a master’s degree in athletic leadership, but his ultimate goal has always been to get back into the NFL.
Curry was selected for the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, which gave him the opportunity to participate in off-season programs for Cincinnati and Carolina. In 2019, as part of the community, Curry attended Seattle’s offseason workouts and never left.
Carroll said it was defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., who is also Black and who was Curry’s position coach in Seattle nearly a decade earlier, who saw the potential.
“Kenny wanted to bring him back because he had a feeling for him and he was right,” said Carroll.
Now, in his third season on the Seattle team, Curry has seen his responsibility and influence over those he coaches grow. Curry started with the basics of breaking up movies and creating exercise plans, but has evolved into more individualized work with defensive ends alongside defensive line coach Clint Hurtt.
“It was a great role in which I think the best thing for a lot of former players is to start at the bottom and work your way up,” said Hurtt. “Because there are so many things that you have to learn, the subtleties of the game, so that you can put things together for the players.”
More AP-NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP—NFL
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed in any way without permission.