Dominique Curry grew watching the Philadelphia Eagles play on Sunday afternoons. Now, Curry, former George Washington High, Cheyney University and California University (PA) standout, will be playing against his hometown team on Sunday when the St. Louis Rams host the Philadelphia Eagles at 1 p.m. (Fox Channel 29).
“It’s a blessing to be able to make the team for my second year let alone play my hometown team,” said Curry, a wide receiver and special teams player. “I think half the people back home want to see me play on TV, but they haven’t since we’re in the Midwest. But now I know a lot of people in Philly are going to be watching now.”
Curry, a 6-foot-2, 225-pounder, is a terrific athlete. He played football, basketball and track and field at George Washington. The former Public League star played in the Sonny Hill League.
He had a great college career. He finished his career at California University in 2009. He played his first three seasons at Cheyney University. He snared 134 receptions for 2,202 yards and 14 touchdowns while earning All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference honors. Curry also played basketball for Cheyney, where he tallied 1,079 career points and snatched 606 career rebounds.
Curry hails from a sports family. His dad, Dominique Stephens played basketball with Hank Gathers, Bo Kimble and Doug Overton at Dobbins. He was on the Mustangs’ 1985 Public League championship team. Stephens played his college basketball for North Carolina Central where he helped the Eagles win the 1989 NCAA Division II national championship.
Curry’s aunt is Marilyn Stephens, who starred at Simon Gratz and played for Temple where she scored 2,194 points and grabbed 1,519 rebounds. The Owls retired her jersey, which now hangs at the Liacouras Center. They’re both head basketball coaches at Cheyney University. Dominique is the head men’s basketball coach while Marilyn is the head women’s basketball coach. They’re two of Curry’s biggest fans.
“They’re very excited for me,” Curry said. “I talked to my dad the other day. It’s really a blessing. That’s what they tell me. Now, it’s time to go to work.”
Curry has landed a spot with the Rams as an undrafted free agent. This is his second year in the NFL. During training camp, he fractured his hand and had surgery. He had a cast on his hand for a few weeks, but is now playing with his hand heavily wrapped. Nevertheless, he’s looking forward to helping St. Louis get to the next level. The Rams just missed the playoffs last year.
“We don’t want to settle for being one game away from the playoffs,” he said. “We want to make playoffs. I want to do as much as I can to help the team win.”
Curry participated in the “Legends of the Pub Camp” last summer during the NFL lockout. The camp was held at Marcus Foster Stadium, 18th and Hunting Park Avenue, for many kids throughout the city.
“It was great for the community,” Curry said. “I’m from that neighborhood. It was something really positive for the kids and the community. We had a lot of guys there like Jameel McClain (Baltimore Ravens, George Washington High). I talked to Jameel from time to time. I spoke to him and he wished me good luck this year. We actually play against each other this year. I know a lot of people in Philly will want to see that game, too.”
Baltimore will battle St. Louis on Sept. 25, but the Eagles and the Rams will be center stage today.
Pro-Bowler Vick, revamped line to face Rams
When the Philadelphia Eagles face the St. Louis Cardinals in the season opener all eyes will be on Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. It’s going to be interesting to see whether or not the team’s revamped offensive line can protect the Eagles Pro Bowl signal caller.
The Eagles offensive line includes Jason Kelce (center), Evans Mathis (left guard), Jason Peters (left tackle), Kyle DeVan (right guard) and Todd Herremans (right tackle). The line hasn’t been together very long to gather any kind of consistency in terms of working as a unit. A year ago, he was sacked 34 times. He also took several big hits during the preseason. Nevertheless, this offensive line will be tested on Sunday at 1 p.m. (Fox TV Channel 29). Vick may have to use his speed and elusiveness in the pocket depending on the protection.
“Well, I’ve got a lot of confidence in Mike,” said Marty Mornhinweg, Eagles offensive coordinator. “I’ve got great confidence that he’ll use all that great athletic ability when he’s forced to use it, otherwise staying with the play and running the offense.
“I do find myself, on occasion, relying on that just a little bit, you know, and taking more calculated risks, I do do that. That could be strength, could be a weakness, for me. I think Mike relies on it, but I’ll tell you what, he’s come so far, as far as playing the quarterback position, that he really is trusting the big offensive line, and the backs and tight ends protection-wise, and he’s done a heck of job, up to date, staying with the play and using that great athletic ability if forced. We can use it in other ways as well.”
Andy Reid, Eagles head coach, has juggled personnel in the offensive line over the years. Reid has really shuffled the deck this season with hopes of providing Vick with some protection.
“Well my first couple years,” Reid said. “Obviously, when I took the job here they were all different, because I didn’t know any of them. After that first year we made some changes, and really every year for the first couple years, three or so years, we made changes, added people, moved them around, did what we do.”
The Eagles just made a huge investment in Vick. They signed him to a reported six-year $100 million contract. The Associated Press, The Sporting News and Pro Football Weekly named Vick the 2010 Comeback Player of the Year after he registered career highs in quarterback rating (100.2), completion percentage (62.6) and passing yards (3,018) en route to his fourth career Pro Bowl berth. He became just the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for 3,000-plus yards, rush for 500-plus yards (676), and accrue a 100-plus quarterback rating in a season, joining Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, who did so in 1992 for the San Francisco 49ers.
In addition, Vick set the Eagles single-season record among quarterbacks with nine rushing touchdowns while ranking second in team history in completion percentage, quarterback rating and interception percentage (1.6). For his efforts, Vick received of the Bert Bell NFL Player of the Year award from the Maxwell Football Club and garnered NFC Offensive Player of the Year accolades from the Kansas City 101 Awards.
The Eagles have the potential to get to the Super Bowl if all the pieces fall into place. Vick is a big part of that. He’s coming off a great year. Reid has been very impressed with his growth heading into this season.
“I think he’s gotten better this camp,” Reid said. “I think he picked up where he left off and he’s getting better every day. That’s the way it should be with every coach and every player, he should be working to do that.
“The one nice thing about football is there’s no ceiling, so you can continue to work to get yourself better every day there’s some part of your game you can do that with. He came back in phenomenal shape and with a great mindset, and wanted to take it even up another notch from last year, and he’s done that to this point. However, we’ve got to play the games and so on, and then time tells in those situations, but he sure has prepared himself well.”
It’s a big night for Philadelphia Eagles fans young and old. The Eagles will hold their third Eagles Flight Night! at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, August 26. There will be a host of different activities for the fans including a chance to watch the Eagles play in a live full-team practice.
“It’s going to be fantastic, and what’s different this time is a group of players got involved and formed a committee,” said Sarah Martinez-Helfman, executive director of Eagles Youth Partnership. “We got suggestions on how to make it more fun for the fans.
“We’re going to have some things that you haven’t seen before. We’re going to have a player singing the national anthem. We got a touchdown dance competition. We got a new laser and fireworks show at the end. It’s definitely going to be a lot of fun.”
The fans will have a chance to receive a jersey from an Eagles player. In addition, the first 10,000 kids (12 and under) will get a DeSean Jackson mini-bobblehead doll.
“The [bobblehead] was designed especially for the event,” Martinez-Helfman said. “It’s going to be a collector’s item. We’re pretty excited about that. DeSean is pretty excited about that. The players are into this event and we hope the fans come out, show the support for the team and the community.”
The gates at the Linc will open at 5:30 p.m. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $12 for children (12 and under) and $20 for adults. The tickets can be purchased at www.philadelphiaeagles.com. The proceeds from this event benefit the Eagles Youth Partnership’s programs.
“Every dollar that we raised goes to the Eagles Youth Partnership,” Martinez-Helfman said. “So, when someone comes and spends $10, that’s four new books for a child. If you come out and buy a ticket and some food, that’s a pair of eyeglasses for a kid who desperately needs one. You come out and enjoy your team and know that you are really doing good — that you can change a child’s life by just showing up that day.”
Eagles Flight Night! started three years ago. They didn’t have the event last year due to the NFL lockout. Nevertheless, the event has really grown in leaps and bounds.
“This is a perfect event for grandparents, parents and for kids,” she said. “It’s really family-friendly. It’s a way to share your love and passion for the Eagles with young ones who will be royally entertained by the event. It has grown in numbers. It has grown in player involvement. It’s just a fun family night.”
Defensive tackle believes team can recover from 1-4 start
Mike Patterson, Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle, knows his team hasn’t played well over the last month. The Eagles are 1-4 heading into their NFC East matchup with the host Washington Redskins on Sunday, October 16 at 1 p.m. (Fox TV Channel 29). It seems as if the last three weeks were must-wins for the Eagles.
But this game really looks like a must win for them. They need to halt the four-game losing streak if they have any chance of salvaging the season. Patterson feels the team will be playing with a lot of confidence against the Redskins.
“We have a lot of faith,” Patterson said. “We still have a lot of good players here. We feel like we can turn things around most definitely. We’re not going to give up.”
The Eagles had a lot of trouble stopping the Buffalo Bills’ running game. Fred Jackson rushed for 111 yards on 26 carries in Buffalo’s 31-24 victory against the Eagles. The Redskins (3-1) are in first place in the division behind quarterback Rex Grossman (83-of-143 passes for 989 yards and 6 touchdowns) and running backs Tim Hightower (67 carries for 233 yards), Ryan Torain (19 attempts for 135 yards) and Roy Helu (24 carries for 126 yards). Patterson thought the Eagles played better against the run in the second half of last week’s contest.
“Everybody knows how we felt at that time,” he said. “I’m just hoping we can feed off of that. Everybody was out there working. The defense was getting some stops. The offense was moving the ball. It was a good feeling right there. We just have to build on that. The Redskins have a big running game. We have to work hard and go out and stop it.”
Patterson, a 6-foot-1, 300-pounder, is one of the team’s best runstoppers. He has 14 total (10 solo) tackles this season. He realizes teams could test the Eagles defense on the ground.
“That’s how it is every game,” Patterson said. “That’s just how teams are. They’re going to continue to run on a team if they feel like we can’t stop them. I wouldn’t doubt it if they came out and ran three times in a row. It’s going to be a tough challenge for us. It’s going to be a big game for us, too.”
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Eagles. The team dubbed as the “dream team” has really struggled to finish games. They’ve had a lot of turnovers. The team has given up big leads. In spite of these shortcomings, Patterson remains focused on the task at hand.
“You just have to think about the positive things,” he said. “If you keep on thinking about the negative things, all the bad things will come up. You just have to think about the positive things. There was a period of time in the second half we were able to stop them. Our offense was able to score. These are the things you have to look forward to.”