ALAMEDA (CBS / AP) — Three days ago Aaron Curry was a backup strongside linebacker in Seattle. Now he’s preparing to start at the weak side for the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Curry’s prospects took a sudden turn Friday when coach Hue Jackson announced that the first-round pick in the 2009 draft will replace Quentin Groves in the Raiders’ starting defense at home against the Cleveland Browns. Groves has been a starter since signing with Oakland before last season.
Talk about a whirlwind week.
“It’s been very eventful, very exciting,” Curry said after donning a Raiders T-shirt. “Just to know that Coach has faith in me that I can come in and play right away is a great confidence-booster for me, just to know that he believes in me.”
Not many people in the Pacific Northwest had faith in Curry anymore. The No. 4 overall pick two years ago went from a can’t miss prospect to a bench player in Seattle before the trade with Oakland was completed Thursday.
Although he seemed to play well enough against the run, Curry struggled in pass coverage and couldn’t get fully comfortable in the Seahawks’ system.
Jackson told Curry to leave his problems in the past.
“I don’t get into what all happened wherever he was,” Jackson said. “I brought him here for a reason and he’s going to play. I didn’t bring him here to look at him to figure it out or anything like that. He’s the starting Will (linebacker) on this football team, period.”
Curry, who lost his starting job in Seattle to rookie K.J. Wright, first heard rumors he might be traded to Oakland beginning Wednesday. That was one day after his final practice with the Seahawks.
Before being dealt to Oakland, the 6-foot-2, 255-pounder had only 22 tackles. Curry has just 5 ½ career sacks, but believes the Raiders defense is better suited to his skills.
“I’m starting with a clean slate and (Jackson) doesn’t care what happened back in the past,” Curry said. “When he told me that I took a deep breath because that was my biggest concern— would the opinions pass on from club to club or from person to person?”
Curry’s rapid ascension into Oakland’s starting defense after just one day of practice was reminiscent of the trade the Raiders made with New England just before the 2009 season opener to get defensive lineman Richard Seymour. Seymour arrived on a Saturday, practiced one day with his team then recorded two sacks against San Diego on Monday night.
Curry, whose brother Eric Barton played for the Raiders from 1999-2003, will get a crash course in Oakland’s defense before Sunday’s home game against the Cleveland Browns.
“We’ll work from sunup to sundown to get him ready,” Jackson said. “In my mind I’m not making a trade to ease a guy into anything. We made a trade because I feel like this guy can help our football team. He’s wanted here.”
Jackson, whose influence in making personnel decisions has increased since 82-year-old team owner Al Davis died Oct. 8, also hinted the team might not be done dealing before Tuesday’s trade deadline.
The Raiders are especially hurting in the secondary, where right cornerback Chris Johnson and backup Chimdi Chekwa are both hurt.
At least the offense is getting healthier.
Wide receiver Louis Murphy, who has not played since undergoing surgery for a sports hernia in training camp, practiced without a setback and is expected to make his season debut against the Browns.
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