“I didn’t even watch the draft,” Curry said. “I went to work, came home, relaxed with my son and just was worrying about what time I had to go to work in the morning. I wasn’t even thinking about football, actually.”
Curry, 23, didn’t have much reason to be thinking about football.
He graduated from Cheyney University, where he played football, basketball and ran track, in 2009 and moved on to California University of Pennsylvania where he could play his one final year of eligibility while earning credits toward his master’s degree.
He had just four catches for 64 yards and one touchdown during the 2009 season but was an impact player on special team for the Vulcans.
One year later, Curry is a wide receiver for the St. Louis Rams.
He was one of six wide receivers to make the team’s 53-man roster out of training camp and a few days later when the Rams traded for veteran receiver Mark Clayton they chose to release Keenan Burton, not Curry, to make room on the roster.
When he spoke to reporters following Monday’s practice, Curry was excited about making the team — while acknowledging he was a longshot.
“Feeling blessed,” Curry said. “Me coming from a small school and not having a big senior year, I was just thankful for the opportunity that the Rams gave me at first. But this is even better.”
Curry admitted that he was worried during training camp because of the other nine players competing at wide receiver and knowing there were established players ahead of him on the depth chart.
“I was always worried,” he said. “I just prayed and a lot of people prayed for me back at home and a blessing came true.”
Curry earned the spot by making a strong impression at wide receiver and also on special teams.
He had two catches for 25 yards in the four preseason games, but recorded four tackles on special teams — including a big hit against the Browns — and a crushing block to help spring his roommate, fellow wide receiver Brandon McRae, for a touchdown reception against the Ravens.
“I didn’t have many reps at receiver but by me just working hard during the course of practice during the weeks special teams showed that I could play in this league,” Curry said. “That’s what I actually did at my last school. I went from a very small school being the star receiver to going to a similar bigger school and being a special-teams guy. I was able to put it together.”
Curry’s success as a three-sport athlete at Cheyney has helped him.
He scored 1,079 points in his Cheyney basketball career (2005-09), where he was also able to play for his father, Dominique Stephens, an assistant coach there for two years and then the head coach for Curry’s final two seasons.
“He’s a special athlete, a super athlete,” Stephens said, “and it was I’m not saying a matter of time before someone saw the real Dominique Curry that I’ve been seeing for the past 23 years, with him putting the work in and doing everything he needed to do to be successful, my hat’s off to him. I wouldn’t say surprised, but I’m just a proud father whether he made it or not.”
Stephens, who played on a Dobbins High School basketball team in Philadelphia in 1984 that also included Bo Kimble, Doug Overton and Hank Gathers, was able to travel to three of the Rams preseason games — against the Vikings in St. Louis and the road games at Cleveland and New England.
“It’s a proud moment,” he said of watching his son play for the Rams. “Understanding athletics you never know which preseason game could have been his last preseason game.”
Curry wasn’t even thinking about football a few months ago, but now he’s trying to do everything he can to keep living out his dream.
“I think the hardest part for me was to get my foot in the door,” Curry said. “I just took it day by day. I didn’t try to look ahead, didn’t try to plan into the future. I just wanted to take today’s practice and try to make tomorrow’s practice better than yesterday.”
Nate Latsch is the publisher of GridIronGateway.com. For subscription information visit GridIronGateway.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/natelatsch
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