'Mama's boy' Curry enters manhood with Seahawks

RENTON, Wash. — Rookie Aaron Curry's first full day in the manly NFL included a not-quite-manly proclamation.

"I definitely take pride in being a Mama's boy," the fourth overall pick in the draft said Monday while being welcomed by the Seattle Seahawks.

Uh, this 6-foot-2, 254-pound outside linebacker — with the shoulders of a bull, the speed of a greyhound and the low, imposing voice of James Earl Jones — a "Mama's boy?"

"Some people would be ashamed by it, but for me to be a Mama's boy, with what we've been through, has made me so strong," Curry said.

Immediately after his name was called inside New York's Radio City Music Hall at Saturday's draft, he hugged mother Chris, a high school biology teacher in Fayetteville, N.C. Tears filled his eyes.

"Yeah, he's a crybaby," Chris Curry said Monday. "We're all crybabies in our family."

She was in the front row, next to Curry's fiancee, Jamila Abdul-Hakim of Charleston, S.C., watching her youngest of three sons arrive as Seattle's highest draft choice in 12 years.

"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," the 23-year-old Curry said. "I think it makes me a unique person."

The second linebacker since 2000 taken in the top five of the draft was forced — "court order, I guess," he said — to go his father's house as a child, even though his dad had left before he was born. After a couple of weekend visits, he stopped going, relying solely on his mother for nurturing and inspiration.

"As far as his influence on my life, not much," Curry said of Reggie Pinkney, a former defensive back with the Detroit Lions and Baltimore Colts from 1977-1981.

Seattle passed on a chance to draft quarterback Mark Sanchez as the eventual replacement to 33-year-old starter Matt Hasselbeck. The Seahawks ignored bringing in wide receiver Michael Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin as a cure for a position that had seven injuries last season. Instead, they replaced traded Pro Bowl outside linebacker Julian Peterson.

Curry will wear Peterson's old No. 59 in Seattle. He is what team president Tim Ruskell called "the complete package."

Curry was kicked off his seventh-grade football team in Fayetteville because he was too small. He left E.E. Smith High School wanting to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but "I was about 200 pounds soaking wet, after breakfast and lunch," he said.

Only one ACC school even looked at him.

"I wanted to punish every team in the ACC," Curry said, "for not even coming to say, 'Hi.'

"It's a little bit past love. I'm almost obsessed with playing football. Football is pretty much my life."

There's another reason for that.

He came home from Wake Forest two years ago and found his mom evicted from her home, leaving them and his two older brothers homeless for the summer. Football workouts went from fun to fiendish, lasting days and nights. The weight room was a home for those weeks he had nowhere to stay.

"When we got evicted, it really hit home for me," Curry said. "Some people might have been able say, 'OK, we'll be able to bounce back. Whatever.' But because I'm a Mama's boy, it hit me — hard. I was thrown off for a little while.

"But it motivated me to put her in the position where all she has to do is wake up in the morning, drink some Starbucks and make a phone call. Never have to worry about another bill."

He wanted to enter the draft last year, as a junior, to get money for his mom sooner. Mom told him to wait, and get his degree. Also, he was offended by estimates he would be chosen in the third round. That, and an obligation to his rising senior class that had turned Wake Forest from doormats into an ACC champion spurred him back to the Demon Deacons.

That worked out OK. He dominated as a senior, graduated in December with a sociology degree and soared to the top of the draft, hailed as the "safest" pick there was.

"You can't beat this," Curry said, with a grin seemingly as large as his windfall. "This little kid from Fayetteville, North Carolina, who nobody wanted is living out his dream. And I'm just getting started.

"Man, it feels great. The smile on her face Saturday is something I will never forget, to make Mama proud."

Curry is expected to get a contract with at least $25 million in guarantees. Oakland gave running back Darren McFadden $26 million guaranteed last year as the fourth overall pick.

He said he will buy back the house his mother recently purchased in Fayetteville.

"It's a-maaaaa-zing!" Mom said with a singsong lilt in her voice.

She says she'll keep teaching, because she's not the retiring type. She said she always needs to be doing something — like dropping in on Curry in Seattle, at the place she has already made clear must have a room for her.

"What Mama says, goes," Curry said, smiling again. "Believe that."

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