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Curry traded to Raiders

Posted Oct 13, 2011

Aaron Curry arrived in 2009 as the fourth pick overall in the NFL draft, but never played to those lofty expectations.

(Updated October 13, 2011 at 2:36 pm PT)

The Seahawks have traded linebacker Aaron Curry to the Oakland Raiders.

Curry was not at practice Wednesday morning, and his locker had been cleared out.

General Manager, John Schneider, had the following comment on the situation:

"On behalf of Mr. Allen, Coach Carroll, and the entire Seahawks family, we want to thank Aaron for his contributions to the Seahawks and wish him all the best with his fresh start in Oakland."

Curry arrived as the fourth pick overall in the 2009 NFL draft, oozing with potential and promise and considered the safest selection in that rookie class. The third-year linebacker would leave with much less pomp or circumstance, in a deal that would give the Seahawks a pair of draft choices.

The move was not that surprising, because the team had restructured the contract Curry signed as a rookie this summer and he then lost his starting job on the strong side to rookie K.J. Wright.

It is Wright’s presence, and performance, that allowed the Seahawks to consider the trade.

“K.J. Wright has made this possible,” Carroll said. “He’s played so well.  He played that Mike (middle) and that Sam (strong-side) ‘backer spot and took over the Sam ‘backer spot three weeks now starting and did a beautiful job.

“And we think we can really move ahead with him so it gave us a chance to at least make an effort to make a deal and get a couple more players for the future here, you know, with picks.”

Linebacker Leroy Hill talked with Curry before he left Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Wednesday.

“He said how much he had learned from us and how much he’s going to miss us,” Hill said after the second, and final, practice during the team’s bye week. “But it’s a new beginning for him and hopefully he steps to the plate.

“And I think down there he won’t have all those high expectations that he had here. So he can relax and just play ball. I wish him luck and think everything will work out for him.”

Things didn’t work out for Curry with the Seahawks because he didn’t play to the expectations of a player taken with the fourth pick in the draft. The club also had problems finding the right role for him.

As a rookie, when Jim Mora was the coach, they talked about unleashing Curry as a pass-rusher. But he had just two sacks among the 60 tackles he made while starting 12 games.

Last season, after Pete Carroll took over as coach, the 255-pound Curry was moved to the strong side and provided to be more productive while sealing the edge against the run. He had 70 tackles, 3½ sacks and two forced fumbles while starting all 16 games.

This season, the Seahawks started using their strong-side ’backer off the line – more like an inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. It called for Curry to read and react more and also drop into coverage. He started the first two games, totaling five tackles in the opening-day loss to the 49ers in San Francisco and six in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

But his play was more noticeable for the tackles he missed and the pass plays he allowed in coverage. Because of that, and the way Wright played in the opener while subbing for David Hawthorne at middle linebacker, the coaches decided to go with the rookie.

Curry said he was “at peace” with the decision, and at times he played well when given the opportunity the past three games. He made 21 tackles in the first five games.

Given a chance to trade him, however, the Seahawks decided to try and continue the purge of players who were here before Carroll and GM John Schneider were hired in January of 2010 and pick up some draft choices that will allow them to continuing bringing in the types of players Carroll needs to play his style of defense and offense.

Only nine players on the 53-man roster remain from the team Carroll and Schneider inherited: punter Jon Ryan, running back Justin Forsett, cornerback Marcus Trufant, center Max Unger, defensive end Red Bryant, nose tackle Brandon Mebane, wide receiver Ben Obomanu and Hill and Hawthorne.

“I don’t think anything was missing,” Hill said when asked about Curry’s game. “I have never known a person that has been a Top 10 pick, but I can imagine the pressure coming in knowing that everybody is expecting you to produce right off the top.

“And you’re still a rookie. I think it was just extra expectations for him. I think the first year was kind of slow, and the second year was a little slower than everybody wanted. I think that weight just started bearing on him.”