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Rams wide receiver loves his role

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  • Rams wide receiver loves his role

    By Justin Walker, Marion Daily Republican, [email protected]
    Published: Thursday, December 7, 2006

    MARION — The exploits of Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt are well known around the NFL. They've been the marquee players for the St. Louis Rams for a few years now, and they're both wide receivers.

    So the average NFL fan might not know about Kevin Curtis, the Rams' other wide receiver.

    "Yeah, I'm the other guy," Curtis acknowledged Tuesday during a stop in Marion to promote Alltel Wireless to the region.

    "I love it. I love the role," Curtis said. "It's quite an honor. Those guys are awesome and especially being a wide receiver, coming into the league it's been great to learn from the best. I have no problem with it."

    Holt, an eight-year veteran, has caught eight touchdowns and 910 yards this season, while Bruce, in his 13th season, has hauled in 764 yards and two scores.

    Curtis, while his numbers are down from a year ago, has still had a fine season with 345 yards and four touchdowns through 12 games while assuming the "other guy" role.

    "I don't necessarily want to be the other guy my whole career, but it's been a great learning experience for me," Curtis said.

    It's also allowed Curtis, primarily a third-down receiver, to take on single coverage when quarterback Marc Bulger is looking his way.

    "There are times where Torry or Isaac will draw some double teams and it will give me some favorable matchups to get me the ball," Curtis said. "Coming in every other down or every three downs, you might not get as many opportunities, so if my number is called, I definitely get excited about the opportunity."

    Curtis is in his fourth NFL season, all with St. Louis, after coming out of Utah State. At 5-foot-11 and 186 pounds, he's not menacing by any stretch. But he was clocked as the fastest member of the Rams last season and caught 60 passes in Mike Martz's final season.

    Now under new coach Scott Lineham, the Rams are 5-7 heading into Monday's big matchup with the Chicago Bears (10-2) at the Edward Jones Dome. Curtis said the team has been looking forward to this week's matchup, while taking one game at a time along the way.

    "We've lost a couple of close games that were tough to lose but obviously we can't change that now and we're just looking ahead to the future and hopefully we can pull off a big win Monday night," Curtis said. "You try to take each game a week at a time, but now that it's Chicago week, we definitely have our work cut out for us. That's a good football team. I can't think of a better way to feel better about the struggles we've been having than to knock off the Bears."

Related Topics


  • RamWraith
    Curtis ready for bigger things in St. Louis
    by RamWraith
    By Len Pasquarelli

    Maybe because Kevin Curtis was originally a walk-on at Utah State, where it took two years before coach Mike Dennehy finally granted him a scholarship, the speedy wide receiver never thought much about a career in professional football.

    So when a representative from the sports information office queried him about his career goals in 2000 as part of the standard player questionnaire, Curtis briefly hearkened back to his boyhood ambition in delivering what he assumed would be a forgettable reply.

    Problem is, Curtis' supposed throwaway answer has yet to be thrown away, except by him.

    Five years later, apparently with no one having thought about updating the "personal" section of his biography, the St. Louis Rams media guide still suggests Curtis "hopes to one day become a firefighter." The truth is, though, that the Rams' third-year wide receiver thinks a lot more these days about torching NFL secondaries than about extinguishing house fires.

    "The whole fireman thing, well, it just popped into my head," explained Curtis of the media-guide notation that followed him from college into the NFL. "I mean, here I was, just a walk-on, barely on the team and not much thinking about playing football after college. So 'fireman,' which I think is a really [admirable] job, seemed just as good an answer as any at the time. And somehow, I don't know, it just stuck with me."
    In the final three games of his 2004 season, however, NFL cornerbacks could barely stick with Curtis at all. Which helps explain why, looking to the 2005 season, Curtis, a third-round choice in 2003, figures to be climbing the St. Louis depth chart instead of a four-story extension ladder.

    And why the Rams, who have struggled at the No. 3 wide receiver spot since the quicksilver Az-Zahir Hakim departed as a free agent following the '01 season, might finally have located a viable playmaker to fill that key role.

    In terms of raw numbers, the various successors to Hakim, who averaged 37 catches, 508 yards and four touchdowns in four seasons in the wide-open St. Louis offense, have measured up. In order, Ricky Proehl (2002), Dane Looker (2003) and Shaun McDonald (2004), averaged 42.3 receptions, 485 yards and 3.3 touchdowns over the past three campaigns. But none of the three – McDonald and Looker remain with the Rams, and Proehl is now with Carolina – has the kind of big-play explosiveness Curtis demonstrated at the end of last season.

    In the regular-season finale against the New York Jets, a postseason wild-card victory at Seattle and then a defeat at Atlanta in the division round, Curtis totaled 17 receptions for 335 yards and one score. Curtis had at least one reception of 34 yards or more in each of those contests. In fact, in each of his final four appearances of 2004, he had...
    -06-28-2005, 05:00 AM
  • RamDez
    Rams wide receiver stands out, no matter the color of his hair
    by RamDez
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch


    Well, he did it again. Rams wide receiver Kevin Curtis showed up for training camp this season with his hair bleached white as snow.

    "I'm not really sure what the logic is behind it," Curtis said. "I did it a couple years ago. I do it every once in a while in the summer. I don't know why.

    "My brother's girlfriend did it. One day she was at the house, and I just said, 'Hey, bleach my hair.' She actually got married like three weeks later to my little brother. It took some convincing. She didn't want me with bleached hair in the wedding. I was bored, I guess."

    With the regular season just two weeks away, the bleach is growing out.

    "I kind of cut a little bit away each time I get a haircut," Curtis said. "Eventually, it'll all be out."

    And none too soon, given the amount of ribbing Curtis takes at Rams Park for the bleached look. Some call him Eminem, for the rapper. Old schoolers call him Billy Idol, for the punk rocker.

    On the football field, everyone calls him fast. Well, at least everyone who knows his game. Some people, opponents included, are still surprised by his speed.

    "I think so," Curtis says. "Last year was my first year to really get out there playing. So no one really knows who I am. . . . So I can surprise people. It's all the better for me."

    The Rams drafted the native of Murray, Utah, in the third round out of Utah State in 2003. A broken fibula in his right leg limited him to four games, with four catches, as a rookie.

    After a slow start a year ago, Curtis closed with a rush. With Isaac Bruce ailing late in the season, Curtis caught 17 passes for 334 yards and a touchdown in the Rams' final three games, a period encompassing the regular-season finale against the New York Jets and playoff games against Seattle and Atlanta.

    "I happened to get in there a little more when Isaac was hurt," Curtis said. "I definitely grew a lot in those last games, especially the postseason.

    "Those playoff games, it's a whole different atmosphere. I know that Seattle game, first quarter, I was kind of going blank on a few plays. I kind of had to calm down, settle down. As the game went on, I was able to kind of get back into my game. But that kind of experience helped me so much as a player."

    So did his 57-yard touchdown catch the following week in Atlanta. In an otherwise forgettable 47-17 loss to the Falcons, Curtis scored the Rams' first touchdown on a pass from Marc Bulger.

    What made that play most memorable was the fact that Curtis was being chased by rookie Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Hall, reported to be the fastest player that year at the NFL Scouting Combine,
    -08-28-2005, 02:41 AM
  • RamWraith
    Curtis enjoying NFL
    by RamWraith
    By Shawn Harrison
    Kevin Curtis is living a dream — still.

    Playing football and getting paid for it is still hard to believe for the former Utah State All-American. Curtis, a wide receiver with the St. Louis Rams, has spent three years in the NFL.

    “Wow, it has gone by fast. I can’t believe it has been three years,” Curtis said. “It has been good. I’m a very happy person, love what I’m doing. It was something I dreamed of as a kid.”

    The Utah native was in town for the weekend, participating in some Aggie football alumni events, including a round of golf Saturday. He took some time to sit down with The Herald Journal and talk about life as a professional football player.

    It took a while for Curtis to feel comfortable. He didn’t feel like he belonged at first, surrounded by NFL greats like Kurt Warner, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce and Marshall Faulk. Curtis has gotten over that.

    “I have moments where I think, ‘I have the greatest job in the world,’” Curtis said. “I’ve always loved playing and to be able to keep playing and do it as a career, I feel pretty lucky. Sometimes it doesn’t seem as real, because I don’t watch (NFL games) as much as I did as a kid.”

    That’s because the third-round pick in the 2003 NFL Draft (74th overall) is busy focusing on his job. While he loves the game, Curtis did admit there is a business side to it now. But, he doesn’t have to worry about finishing a paper or preparing for a test like he did in college.

    The walk-on at USU set several school records, including his incredible junior year, where he caught 100 passes for 1,531 yards and 10 touchdowns. He led the nation in receptions per game that season.

    Now, he focuses all of his attention on football. That means repetition and hours of studying film. All the work is worth it, however, when game day rolls around.

    “When it comes to Sunday or Monday — game day — no matter how much you feel it’s a job, you just go play football,” Curtis said. “I have loved playing at all levels, high school, college, you name it. I would definitely rank some of the games I’ve played in the NFL as some of the most fun I’ve ever played in my life.”

    Like the playoff games in 2004 against Seattle and Atlanta. He started both games and led the Rams with 11 catches for 235 yards and a TD. Against the Falcons, he caught seven balls for 128 yards, including a 57-yard score. He is just the third Ram receiver to have back-to-back 100-yard receiving games in the playoffs.

    “We lost at Atlanta, but I felt that was a breakout for me,” Curtis said. “That gave me a lot of confidence that I could play at this level.”

    His first year in the league was difficult. A broken fibula caused him to miss the early part of the season, then he tried to come back too soon, Curtis said. He saw action in four games during his rookie year, catching...
    -04-09-2006, 12:57 PM
  • RamWraith
    Curtis doesn't disagree with Bulgers' comments
    by RamWraith

    MARION - For the last couple of years, St. Louis Rams wide receiver Kevin Curtis could lay unofficial claim to the title of fastest man on the team. But he says that title probably now rests with rookie defensive back Tye Hill.

    "He probably has a step on me," said Curtis who was in Marion Tuesday afternoon participating in an autograph session for Rams' fans at Alltel Wireless. After hearing that Hill had good naturedly said on a St. Louis radio station earlier in the day that he would have water waiting on Curtis to drink at the finish line if the two should ever race, Curtis said he might have to rethink his comments.

    The 28-year-old Utah native is a four-year pro with the Rams, breaking out with a 60-catch, 800-yard season with six touchdowns last year. This year he has had fewer balls thrown his way, recording 33 catches and four touchdowns in 12 games.

    "I'd like for my number to be called every play because I'm confident in my abilities," Curtis said. "But I can truly say I'm a team guy. Whatever the coach asks me to do, I will do."

    Curtis said he had no problem with quarterback Marc Bulger calling out the offense, but not specific players, after Sunday's home loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

    Bulger basically said there were some players who didn't care about the team, were repeating mistakes and just going through the motions.

    "I don't doubt Marc's intentions at all," Curtis said. "He's our guy, our quarterback, a leader on this team. He has the right to say what he did. And he's been playing hurt. Marc was probably just frustrated with the way things have been going. He's a competitor and wants to win very badly."

    Curtis said he hopes Bulger's comments will cause some players to look in the mirror and ask themselves if they are putting forth their best effort.

    "I'd like to think we're a better team than 5-7," Curtis said. "This is not where we wanted to be. All we can do now is try to get some momentum back by beating Chicago next Monday night."

    Curtis said he has learned much about the intricacies of wide receiver, playing behind two of the best in the business in Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.

    "I think I'm a better player now than when I first came into the league, but I still have room for improvement," he said.

    Asked his favorite moment to date as a pro, Curtis said it would be playing in the playoffs.

    "That's what it's all about. Playing in the Super Bowl would be the ultimate goal. I want to play in the big game someday," he said. "When I first came here, there were times I felt a little overwhelmed, but now I know I belong and can make a difference. I'm lucky to be living out my dream."
    -12-06-2006, 10:33 AM
  • RamWraith
    Backups boost passing game
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats

    As he soared for Marc Bulger's second-quarter pass in the end zone Sunday, Kevin Curtis knew that the ball and ***** strong safety Tony Parrish would arrive simultaneously, and that it wouldn't be pleasant.

    Sure enough, Parrish hammered Curtis, knocking the ball away and leaving the Rams' wide receiver stunned. But Curtis hauled himself off the turf and back into the fray.

    "I was a little dizzy for a second," he said, "but I was fine."

    Curtis also suffered a dislocated ring finger on his right hand in the opening minutes and a slightly sprained ankle in the second half. Yet he persevered, winding up with seven catches for 63 yards. He assured that none of his assorted dings would hinder him Sunday, when the Rams play at Arizona.

    "I'm good to go," said Curtis, a 5-foot-11, 186-pound speedster from Utah State.

    The continuing emergence of Curtis and fellow third-year wideout Shaun McDonald - he also made seven catches, for 73 yards, in the Rams' 28-25 loss to the ***** - not only adds to coach Mike Martz's arsenal, but also removes some of the burden from first-teamers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt.

    After combining for 14 catches and 75 yards as rookies in 2003, both young wideouts had breakthrough seasons last year. McDonald, 24, had 37 receptions for 394; Curtis, 27, caught 32 passes for 421 yards.

    "Both these guys can start just about anywhere," Martz said. "They're playing at a high level. They're a terrific, terrific addition to what we do offensively."

    Bulger launched a franchise-record 56 passes Sunday, which, on the surface, would appear to be a wide receiver's dream come true. But as Curtis noted, the circumstances behind that flurry of tosses weren't desirable.

    "Not when you have to throw, because that usually means that you're losing," he said. "Definitely, as a receiver, you like it when they put the ball up a lot. But when you're in a situation like that, it's not always ideal because you're trying to come from behind."

    The Rams charged back after lagging 28-9 early in the third quarter, and Curtis and McDonald were Bulger's main targets during the rally. Curtis had five catches for 49 yards and McDonald had four, also for 49 yards, from that point on. Holt, the leading receiver on the day (10 catches for 125 yards) did most of his damage in the first half.

    The season-opening defeat, particularly against a team that went 2-14 last year, has steeled the team's resolve for the outing against the Cardinals, Curtis stressed.

    "Any time you come off a loss, you're eager to just get back out on the field," he said. "You kind of have that bad taste in your mouth that you want to get out and have the good feeling...
    -09-16-2005, 04:58 AM