Seattle Seahawks linebacker Aaron Curry talked to reporters for about 15 minutes after his first practice this afternoon.
Curry signed a six-year deal reportedly worth $61 million, $34 of which is guaranteed, giving Seattle once again one of the highest paid linebacker units in the league.
To make room for Curry on the 80-man roster the Seahawks waived receiver Billy McMullen.
He made a dramatic entrance to practice, racing out of the doors of the team's practice facilities about 15 minutes into practice, with the crowd giving him a rousing ovation after a the team's announcer pointed him out on the field.
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Curry's got some catching up to do after missing eight days of camp and 12 practices total.
Hawks general manager Tim Ruskell said the turning point was one of the sticking points for the team was the number of years, with team ultimately wining out by getting Curry to agree to a six-year contract.
“These deals are so big,” Ruskell said. “So we felt like we should just get as much time as we can and have him be a Seahawks for a long time.”
Ruskell also said the Kansas Chiefs signing defensive end Tyson Jackson this week, the No. 3 pick just ahead of Curry, also helped accelerate negotiations.
“It kind of put some brackets around it, obviously, even though one of them was a quarterback,” Ruskell said about the Jackson deal. “And I’m sure Aaron was getting antsy, too. So the combination of things that were happening around us did help push it along.”
Curry said he had a mental deadline of being in camp by Saturday, in order to be ready for the team’s first preseason game against San Diego. So it was important for him to get into camp this weekend.
“Some things you can only stay away from for so long,” he said. “I just knew that today would be my day I might have lost it if I didn’t have a helmet and some cleats.”
Curry showed some rust today, which is to be expected. He looked rusty during one-on-one passing drills. And he worked mostly with the second unit during team drills. However, head coach Jim Mora said he’ll be working with the first group soon in order to get him ready for the upcoming game against the Chargers.
The task for Mora will be to balance how hard to work Curry this week, as well as how much playing time he’ll get during the preseason. Normally, starters don’t get a lot of work in the firs preseason game, but because the team has high expectations for Curry to be an impact player, expect to see Curry a bit more than veterans like Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill.
“He can’t come in and play like a rookie,” Mora said. “He has to come in and play like an important cog on a really good defense. He can’t allow rookie mistakes once the season starts.”
Speaking of Tatupu, Curry said he kept in daily contact with the veteran linebacker in order to keep up with any changes in the defensive scheme. Curry also kept in contact with fellow rookies Deon Butler and Courtney Greene.
“Lofa was willing to do anything it took to make sure I stayed up to speed,” Curry said.