Former No. 4 overall pick linebacker Aaron Curry is now in a fight to keep his starting job with the Seattle Seahawks.
Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said following practice Thursday that it’s an open competition between Curry and rookie K.J. Wright for the starting outside linebacker spot.
The News Tribune of Tacoma reported earlier Thursday about Curry’s potential demotion.
Curry has struggled to find a role in the NFL after being the highest linebacker drafted since LaVar Arrington was the second overall pick in 2000. Curry has just 5 1/2 sacks in three seasons and has been used in a number of different ways to see how best he can help Seattle’s defense.
“He’s good. He was professional,” Bradley said about Curry’s reaction to the news. “I’m sure he doesn’t like the situation, but he’s responded well. He goes out there and practices hard, and he’s been a true professional.”
The move to open up the competition is because of Curry’s continuing struggles and Wright’s impressive play through training camp and in the season opener at San Francisco, when Wright filled in at middle linebacker for injured starter David Hawthorne.
It’s also another step in Seattle potentially cutting ties with Curry in the future. Seattle had already restructured Curry’s contract, reportedly cutting two years off the original six-year deal he signed coming out of Wake Forest.
The 6-foot-2, 254-pound Curry garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews coming out of college and won the 2008 Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker.
The 6-foot-3, 246-pound Wright wasn’t as well-regarded. He played primarily strongside linebacker in college, but he impressed Seattle’s coaches by filling in for Hawthorne. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has made it a point to mention Wright’s progress.