Ronald Curry And Sam Williams...

Angry Pope

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Raiders' duo renewed
WR Curry, linebacker Williams show prowess after serious injuries


By Jerry McDonald

ALAMEDA — Those scary-looking fans in the Raider Nation are a bunch of old softies.
At least that's how it appeared Sunday at McAfee Coliseum when at least two Oakland Raiders were introduced at the Raider Nation Celebration.

Coach Art Shell got huge cheers, as did the stars you'd expect ... Randy Moss, Warren Sapp, LaMont Jordan.

Warm greetings were also given to wide receiver Ronald Curry and linebacker Sam Williams, two hard-luck stories whose comebacks have warmed the hearts of those who wear silver-and-black face paint and have spikes on their shoulders.

"That was cool, and very surprising," Curry said. "It had been awhile. I'd been making some plays, but I wasn't a solidified starter or anything. I definitely appreciated the support."

Said Williams: "I guess they just figured we've been through some stuff and we've been working hard to get back."

Stuff?

Curry suffered a torn left Achilles' tendon in each of the past two seasons, an injury that often spells the end of a career. He also had a torn right Achilles' tendon in college.

Williams, whom the Raiders traded up to select in the third round in 2003, played one game as a rookie before undergoing knee surgery. He was lost nine games into his second season with a torn labrum, necessitating shoulder surgery.

Last season, Williams seized the starting position at strong outside linebacker only to suffer a torn ACL in Houston, where the Raiders were practicing with the Texans.

Shell said the coaches keep a close watch on players coming off serious injuries after they are cleared by the training staff.

"You watch and see if they are doing everything you ask them to do," Shell said. "Are they being tentative? If they are, they might not even realize it."

Williams dispelled any doubts last April. Curry gained the coaches' confidence in the past two weeks.

Curry caught one pass for 7 yards in Oakland's 21-3 win over Detroit, his first action of the preseason after the Raiders medical staff held him out of training camp practices until Aug.22.

"I feel as good as new, like the bionic man," Curry said. "The only rust I had was getting used to having my shoulder pads on again. I didn't have any trouble with the game speed. My footwork is coming back."

Curry's rehab period was considerably longer than that of last year. In 2004, he had established himself as the club's top receiver by catching six passes for 110 yards and an eye-popping touchdown catch in Denver, followed by nine receptions for 141 yards against Kansas City.

Late in that game, on Dec.5, he suffered the injury, ending his season with 50 receptions for 679 yards. He was back on the field midway through training camp the next year, and did it again on Sept.18 in Week 2.

The Raiders are crowded at wide receiver, with Moss, Doug Gabriel, Jerry Porter all assured spots — assuming Porter's wish to be traded is not granted.

Curry's strength lies in that he operates best out of the slot position and showed a knack in 2004 for working the middle of the field — the perfect complement for outside threats such as Moss and Gabriel in particular.

Ask Curry his thoughts regarding his recovery, and he articulates them in a matter-of-fact fashion.

Having played in only 10 of 48 games in his three years as a Raider, Williams is uncomfortable with the injury issue — almost as if talking about it could jeopardize his good fortune.

"I'm on the field in one piece, that's a good sign," Williams said. "That's always a good thing, to be on the field."

After undergoing surgery in August 2005, Williams went to work. By the time the Raiders convened for their mandatory minicamp following the draft in April, Williams was on the field without a knee brace.

He was named the starting strongside linebacker and has enjoyed a solid training camp and preseason, retaining his job even as Grant Irons has played extremely well at the same position.

"The only time I felt rusty was the first minicamp," Williams said. "It's football — the more you play, the more you get in a groove."

Teammates, while for the most part following the unwritten rule of not dwelling on injuries, have taken notice of both players.

"Some guys get hurt like they did, and you never see them again," fullback Zack Crockett said. "They keep coming back stronger, more sure of themselves and more confident."
 
"I feel as good as new, like the bionic man," Curry said. "The only rust I had was getting used to having my shoulder pads on again. I didn't have any trouble with the game speed. My footwork is coming back."

Couldn't have painted a better picture.
 
What a shot in the arm for both offense & defense if both players could go "Derrick Burgess" and remain healthy for an entire season....Both players have worked extremely hard the past couple of years and it's very easy to root for them.

It's pretty clear to me that Sam Williams at strong side LB'er is a perfect fit and if Ronald Curry is healthy and hasn't lost (too much anyway) any speed, I could see him supplanting Doug Gabriel as a starting WR by midseason. He's the PERFECT compliment to Randy Moss. Perfect.
 
RaiderIVlife said:
What a shot in the arm for both offense & defense if both players could go "Derrick Burgess" and remain healthy for an entire season....Both players have worked extremely hard the past couple of years and it's very easy to root for them.

It's pretty clear to me that Sam Williams at strong side LB'er is a perfect fit and if Ronald Curry is healthy and hasn't lost (too much anyway) any speed, I could see him supplanting Doug Gabriel as a starting WR by midseason. He's the PERFECT compliment to Randy Moss. Perfect.
Couldn't agree more.

This team is due for some good luck in the injury department. We got some luck last year with Burgess now Sam and Curry are in line for a little good fortune. I hope.
 
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