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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Curran Wrestles With Tough Decision

I have a story in today's Telegraph on the difficult decision process that Georgia juniors Rennie Curran and Reshad Jones are going through as they weigh whether or not to return to school for their final seasons or bolt for the NFL, where both could be relatively early draft picks. I spoke with Rennie at length about his decision, and I thought his responses were particularly interesting. Here's the full interview...

David Hale: Obviously most people will talk about your on-field efforts and your NFL review as to how prepared you are for the next level. But what are some of those things outside of football that are weighing heavily in your decision?

Rennie Curran: It’s not only about football or about money or anything like that. Certainly coming back and being a senior and having that legacy like a David Greene or a David Pollack, that’s huge for me as well. Being able to represent the school and having a chance to win those senior awards. Having a chance to be the career tackle leader, that’s huge to me and has a lot to do with my decision as well. There’s a lot of personal reasons for coming back that people might now see. There’s other things like just having fun. This is the best time of my life. Being in Athens in general, just being with my teammates, these are moments I’ll never be able to get back. People think about the league and everything, all they see is the money. They think when you make a decision to leave, it’s all about money. It’s really not. There’s so much more than that. It’s something that has about a million variables when you’re in a position like mine.

DH: I know you've talked often about the charitable work you do and the stuff you want to do in the future, doing work in Liberia and also in your own community. How does that factor into your thought process?

RC: It’s something that’s going to be a huge part of what I do. Football is not all there is to it. There are a lot of people you can effect by going to that next level – for instance going to Liberia and starting up my own charitable foundation and just giving back to the community as a whole. I’m a local kid. I grew up in Atlanta, 45 minutes away from Athens. There are countless things I can do in the community to just help and give back – not only to my own family, but to young kids who need mentorship and things like that. The possibilities are endless.

DH: How much have you talked with former players like Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno and Asher Allen, who all went through this just last year?

RC: I talk to Asher a whole lot. He’s given me the reality of it all, just letting me know that it is going to be a grind and it doesn’t get any easier, just filling me in. It’s been great to hear from those guys. Brannan Southerland, I talked to Matt, too. They’ve told me how their experience was and telling me if they had it to do over again, what they would do. It’s all been positive, and it’s really helped me out.

DH: Have you spent some time talking about this stuff with Reshad Jones, who is also weighing his options on the future?

(*Note: Be sure to check out the Telegraph story for some interesting comments from Reshad and Bryan Evans about Jones' future with the Dawgs.)

RC: When you have other teammates that are in a similar situation, it makes things a whole lot easier. You can relate to each other and you can ask each other how they feel about certain issues. It’s definitely been something he and I have talked about a lot – and talked about with our teammates. It’s something you can’t help but discuss when it’s getting toward the end of the season.

DH: So do you have a few teammates that are giving you the hard sell, trying to convince you to come back for another year?

RC: Everybody – but I’m making it hard on myself. I want to come back. I love it here. I’ve learned so much since I’ve been here. And really, when I think about it, I’ve only been here two-and-a-half years, so it really has flown by. There’s still so much I can do in Athens, so much I can accomplish. So it goes both ways, and I feel like it’s a win-win situation.

DH: Has it dawned on you that this could potentially be your final game for Georgia? Is that something you think about right now?

RC: I just put it out of my mind and get ready for it just like another game, just enjoy it and play for my seniors and my coaches who are gone now and represent the school as well as I can. Every time I go out, I give it my best. I hope people see that, and I hope if this is my last game, I hope that’s what people will remember about me – that every single play of every single game, I fought my heart out. I love the game and I love Georgia.


Anonymous said...

the kid is a class act...not sure if tere is anyone that has ever dawned the red and black that has put as much heart, soul and effort into each and every play...the kid redefines "leaving it all on the field"

Anonymous said...

I hope Rennie comes back, but he's not going to improve his draft position by staying. With the right DC and some proper coaching, Reshad could really bloom into the safety we all thought he was going to be when he signed as a 5 star recruit.

Anonymous said...

David, thanks for asking questions that elicited such an in-depth response. It is interesting to learn about Rennie's thought process. I am left wondering, however, why getting a degree isn't high on his list of reasons to stay. Hopefully, he will return for his senior year.

Fratt Stinchcomb said...

From this it soundsa lot like he could be staying. I think he should I think it might help him next year. Another year like this year and I think people will really see what he can do regardless of his size. It would be hard for anyone to doubt him. The way he flys to the football, its incredible. I havent seen a player with his energy in a while. I would be interested to see what he says about his size and how that might effect his success in the NFL.

Anonymous said...

Have to disagree about RC not being able to improve his draft position by coming back. As a returning All SEC LB on a team that has a solid chance to win the East (along with SC), he will get much more media attention, and play in more high profile games. I realize he will get a close look if he goes to the combine, but he really isn't as redy as he would be with another year to demonstrate his talent, especially against a weaker schedule, and a chance to improve on pass coverage. Lot of upside to returning, including getting closer to a degree, but I think his chances are mixed at making it in the NFL at this point. Very posible he doesn't get drafted the first day.

Jones is a no-brainer, he definitely needs more work before considering the NFL. He has potential, but looks no where near ready, and don't know who is telling him he will go high enough to make it worthwhile.

Trey said...

I think some of you are pretty blind, and possibly ignorant. This was the same talk going around when Stafford was deciding on leaving or not. Saying he needs to improve a little more, and has some things to work on. Do you honestly not think NFL coaches and the people they will work with before the combine can't do a better job than our coaches? Not to mention how hard it is to have a NEW DC come in and be successful with Rennie's only year in that system. If you are projected to be first round in any situation like Rennie, you go. I hope he doesn't, but for the comments suggesting he isn't ready and our people can train him better, that's a joke.

The Watch Dawg said...

Trey, Brandon spikes was projected as a first rounder in the 2009 draft, and he came back for his senior year, and rennie's comments would indicate that a first round projection isn't the deciding factor for him either. So maybe you are the ignorant one.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure Rennie would be a first round projection -- his size has always been the knock. That said, I'm not sure another year of monster stats matters either; I don't know that the NFL cares that much about what you do in the games so much as measurables at the combine. Plenty of so-so college players get drafted very highly while all-conference and even Heisman-level guys (probably including Tebow) get passed over.

BigMuddyDawg said...

I can't believe the AJC didn't even mention your name after re-posting your article on their site.

TrboDawg said...

Here's a question I haven't seen asked ( or answered ) How is Rennie and Reshad talking to current NFL players about their options different than Dez Bryant talking with Deion? I don't want our players getting into trouble with the NCAA... Is it because Deion is registered as an 'agent'?