LB Aaron Curry answers questions from the media after his first practice as a Raider. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: Kind of a whirlwind, we just learned that you are not only coming here, but that you're here one day in and going to start.
Curry: It's been very eventful, very exciting, and just to know Coach has faith in that I can come in and play right away is a great confidence booster for me. Just to know that he believes in me and that my job is to get out there and do my job, be held accountable to do my job and just to play hard and play fast and just fit in with Raider football.
Q: How does it feel to get a fresh start?
Curry: It's like a breath of fresh air. One of the first things Coach told me was that I didn't have to worry about any of the opinions that were formed on me before the day that me and him met. That I'm starting with a clean slate, and that he doesn't care what happened back in the past, and its all about moving on to the future. And when he told me that, I just kind of took a deep breath and that was my biggest concern was will the opinions pass from club to club or from person to person? With him telling me I had a clean slate, that gives me opportunity to come out here and develop what I want him to see and who I want him to know.
Q: Can you pinpoint why things didn't go your way in Seattle?
Curry: Not necessarily I can't really pin point it, if I could have pinpointed it I might have fixed it. It just didn't work out and it sucks that it didn't, but I'm excited about being here in Oakland and playing for the Raiders. My brother Eric Barton played here for five years, and so I'm just given a shot to carry his legacy on, and I'm just excited about that.
Q: How strange is that going to be, to get here one day and start on Sunday? At a different position basically too.
Curry: When you look at it from the outside in, it looks weird but I've been practicing all week, whether I was wearing blue or I was wearing black. I've been working on my linebacker skills for the past four weeks. I'm just honing all my skills and learning everything about football not just about playing where I was playing at in our defense, so I'm prepared to play football, and when it all comes down to it, I mean who has the ball?
Q: Hue [Jackson] has talked a lot about putting players in positions to do what they do best, what do you do best?
Curry: Run, the best thing I do is run. Wait for the runner to make a move and run in his direction. And I think that's my best asset.
Q: Can you see where this system the way you're going to be used here is going to suit that?
Curry: Yes, definitely, from alignment to assignment. The entire defense, we're allowed to line up and run and hit, and that's what's good about this defense, that's what is going to be so exciting about this defense.
Q: Did you find in Seattle you needed to think before you ran? Was that sometimes an issue?
Curry: Sometimes, sometimes I was putting too much pressure on myself to do too much thinking, versus just running and hitting. And after Coach told me your coming out here to play fast and you're coming out here to play smart as well, but we're going to play fast we're going to hit, and we're going to be a physical defense. That is right down my alley.
Q: Is moving from "sam" to "will" a big deal at all?
Curry: Not a big deal, it seemed like it, but as far as the scheme goes, no matter what you name the linebacker, it's pretty much what I played when we played up north. It's just going out there, some of the similar keys, some different fits but its all going to boil down to getting the football.
Q: Deep down inside are you upset at all? Are you angry at all for the situation you were in?
Curry: I was at first, I mean naturally I was just frustrated, but I got my focus back, and before I left I was at complete peace. I was done focusing on my circumstances. I handed that to my God, and I let him take care of it, and he put me where he said I should be. And that's why I'm so excited, because I was placed here for a reason. There is a purpose for me being here, and it's not because of anything we do, it's because of a divine person said for me to be here. And that's why I'm so excited.
Q: How would you assess your pass coverage skills?
Curry: I have got way better from my rookie year, and it's going to get way better here, it's not as complex, and we're using simple terms, we're going to keep it simple so that we all can play smart, we can all play fast, and really hone in on our individual skills.
Q: How were you greeted by your new teammates?
Curry: Everybody has been excited, everybody has been happy, saying they are happy having me here. I've just been letting them know how excited and how I can't wait to get out there on Sunday and play in front of the Black Hole and just go crazy. Last I saw them, I was playing for Seattle so they weren't for me, but when they were cheering for the Raiders they were going nuts. Even the stuff they were saying towards us, they were going crazy, so I just can't wait to feel that emotion.
Q: Some of your former teammates are saying now you can relax; were you feeling the pressure of being the number four overall pick, is that something that was a problem up there?
Curry: It was a lot of very, very high expectations. Early on I let the pressure get to me and then when I didn't let the pressure get to me, that was a issue. So it was kinda back and forth, I just really think the expectations were extremely high. Now, like Coach said, I'm allowed to come here and just relax and be me and the only expectation is to play Raider football, follow the rules that we follow, play the football the we play, and take it from there.
Q: What was your role in the Wake Forest defense, you're not too far removed from being in college, and how did that role translate to playing in the NFL?
Curry: Well, the difference from when I was in school and the NFL is that we played two defenses when I was in school. And we didn't care what people knew that we were in, because we knew how they were going to attack it and how we would beat it. And so that's the biggest difference, we played the same thing, every snap, and if I didn't play this way, I played it that way, and it never changed. We didn't have any exceptions, we didn't have any options. This is how you play it, this is how you do it, do it fast, and that was the biggest difference between school and college. Where as up north we had to be able to do everything, versus just being given a role and taking off with it.
Q: Were you nervous at all, being that I'ts your third coach, any nervousness wondering what this play will look like, what must I do differently now?
Curry: Yeah of course, the first thing I thought about was the playbook, and I knew from the history of the Raiders and their defense, and how they do things, I knew some of the stuff. I knew some of the things they were going to play and how it looked like some of the stuff we did in Seattle, but still, everybody has their own stuff. And so, of course I thought about it, and once I got it in my hands yesterday, it wasn't as bad as I thought, not yet at least.
Q: When was your last day of practice with Seattle?
Curry: Tuesday was. Wednesday I didn't practice, and Tuesday was my last day.
Q: When did you first start hearing that you might be heading this way?
Curry: When they called me and told me and said that Oakland was looking and was interested; it was Wednesday.
Q: A somewhat familiar face in that locker room in Blackstock. what has he told you about things going on here?
Curry: Blackstock is awesome. He just told me that we're going to be given a shot to do what we do as linebackers and he really has expressed his passion for linebacker play and how we should play. He is showing his excitement and helping me, along with Coach Biekert, with the playbook. He is constantly talking to me, and he is telling me to put the past behind me and he said the same thing I said, 'There is a purpose, there is a reason that we're both here.' Last time I saw him, I was 195 pounds coming out of high school and so we both believe that there is a purpose for us both being here and that's for all of us to go out there and play Raider football. And I keep seeing in there on the walls it says 'build a bully,' and that's what I'm excited about.
Q: Did you get a chance to talk to Groves?
Curry: Yes, we've chatted. I met Groves after one of the preseason games so it we didn't really have to introduce ourselves to each other. It was kind of just one of the 'what's up.'
Q: Did you talk to your brother about being a Raider?
Curry: Yeah, he is way more excited than I am. Like, I'm excited, and he is over the mountain excited. He is like, when can I come up? Where can I stay? I'll be there tomorrow, I will see you tomorrow. What's the defense look like? Tell the coaches I say hey, tell everybody I say hey. I think he is revisiting his time here. And he had some special times here. I believe he went to the Super Bowl in 2002, so yeah he is extremely excited. He should be here today to show me the ropes and he's going to tell me all about Raider football. And I'm also excited about that to have the history in my blood and be able to talk to him. He is going to tell me how it should look and how we should do it.