New York Giants take a chance on enigmatic LB Aaron Curry
The Giants on Friday signed Curry to a one-year contract, hoping the fourth overall pick in the 2009 draft can reinvent himself after showing little while playing with Seattle and Oakland in what has been a disappointing career.
''We're always looking for players and we like giving guys second opportunities,'' general manager Jerry Reese said after the Giants finished the first session of a two-day minicamp for rookies and free agents. ''He's worked hard to get back and he worked out well for us. If he didn't work out well for us we wouldn't be fooling around with this. But he worked out for us well. He was the fourth pick in the draft a few years ago, so obviously we think he has some talent. We had him rated high back then.
''We'll see what happens this spring with him.''
New York wanted to draft a linebacker last month after it lost middle linebacker Chase Blackburn to free agency and released weakside linebacker Michael Boley. However, the Giants never found the value when they picked.
Curry wasn't immediately available for comment, but he tweeted: "Excited to be a Giant!!!''
Curry offers the Giants a low-risk option for a defense that was among the worst in the league last season. He can play either middle or strongside. The drawback is that he had knee problems last season and is about 10 pounds overweight at 265.
The other issue is Curry's NFL career overall. He hasn't done much since the Seahawks gave him a six-year, $60 million contract. He lasted little more than two seasons in Seattle before being traded to the Raiders on Oct. 12, 2011 for two draft picks.
The Wake Forest product played in 13 games for the Raiders before being waived on Nov. 16. He spent all but two games in 2012 on the physically unable to perform list. Overall, he has started 39 of 48 games with 203 combined tackles, 5 1/2 sacks and four forced fumbles.
''Of course, it's a low risk,'' Reese said. ''It's an opportunity for him. If he comes on and he looks like the player that he was when he was the fourth pick in the draft, it's a win-win for everybody.''
Reese said there isn't a lot to see recently since Curry hasn't played much.
''Sometimes a guy can go to a new environment and reinvent himself,'' he said. ''We're hoping that's what happens with him.''
Strongside linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka is the only returning starting from last year's 4-3 defense, but there have been suggestions that the Giants plan to play him more on the defensive line after losing Osi Umenyiora to free agency and releasing tackle Chris Canty.
Veteran Keith Rivers was re-signed and Dan Connor was added as a free agent, but the other holdovers -- Mark Herzlich, Spencer Paysinger, Jacquian Williams -- don't have much experience.
Curry was awarded the 2008 Butkus Award, presented to the nation's top linebacker. He played in 51 games with 49 starts for the Demon Deacons and finished third in school history with 45 1/2 tackles for losses and ninth with 332 total tackles.
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