Aaron Curry, Mama's Boy Comes to the NFL

aaron-curry-jim-mora-tim-ruskellAaron Curry already has the Butkus Award, but those who know him portray the Seahawks’ new linebacker as a likely candidate for the Albert Schweitzer humanitarian award.

Given the buildup, I was tempted to skip football questions and put Curry to work addressing larger issues: Aaron, are there still ways to fund worthy social services in a time of global recession?

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Aaron, how do we deal with spreading unemployment and homelessness … and still find ways to tackle Steven Jackson and defend Larry Fitzgerald?

“He’s everything we thought he’d be,” said Seahawks coach Jim Mora at Curry’s welcome-to-Seattle press conference. “This is a top-, top-notch human being. We’re all lucky to have a guy like this in our organization and joining our community.”

I don’t know about you, but I get a little suspicious when it gets laid on so thick. But Curry seems to be the genuine article.

And if he weren’t, you get the feeling that his mother, Chris Curry, would take immediate and effective measures to correct the matter.

Chris Curry stepped in more than a year ago when Aaron was considering turning pro instead of returning for his senior season at Wake Forest. She gave her son free rein to sort through the issues, but when he was leaning toward the NFL, she emphatically made her point.

“We don’t quit,” she said. “If he hadn’t finished that, how could he ever move on to another major task in his life?”

When Curry was asked about having received his degree in sociology, he fidgeted with the class ring on his right hand. “The biggest thing was getting that degree,” he said. “She’s a high school (biology) teacher, so she really wanted me to receive my degree.”

And beyond that “… I had a commitment to that senior class, to that team, to that community,” he said.

Yes, and to world peace.

At times, his maturity and perspective make it hard to remember that he’s just a 23-year-old who scarfs down a box of Jujubes every day – and his new job is to create violence and mayhem.

Counter to the football stereotype, he takes pride in being “a mama’s boy.” He didn’t really have much choice.

His father, former NFL defensive back Reggie Pinkney, “wasn’t around when I was born,” Curry said. “(He) was not much of an influence on what I chose to do in life. As I got older, he definitely reached out to me and told me to continue doing the things I’ve always done. But as far as an influence … not much.”

Curry has told of the time when he and his two older brothers were all in college at the same time, and his mother had been evicted from her rental house.

“It was a temporary situation,” Chris Curry said. “We knew we had to go on; we couldn’t let it set us all back. All three were in college so we had to band together and make it work for all of us. My main goal was that we do whatever it took to keep them in school.”

When it was announced that the Seahawks had taken him with the fourth pick of the draft, assuring his status as an instant millionaire, Curry tightly hugged his mother and everybody within half a block of them started bawling.

A surprise that he would be overcome?

“No … I’m an emotional, very passionate person, as well as a player,” he said. “Ever since I was younger, everything I did, I did for my mom and my family. I have pride in being a mama’s boy; I think it makes me a unique person, and a strong person.”

Chris Curry was in the front row of an auditorium at Seahawks headquarters Monday as she watched her youngest son answer every question with sincerity, maturity and depth … with a ring on his finger that symbolized an achievement she holds above the financial security and the athletic honors.

“The way he acts … that means everything to me,” Chris Curry said. “It means that all the things I’ve impressed on him, public speaking, and doing your homework, have finally paid off. That’s the most important thing.”