The fourth-year veteran receiver will make his first appearance in a regular
season game since tearing the Achilles tendon in his left ankle last Dec. 5.
''I'm excited to play the whole game and being a part of the game plan
again,'' said Curry on Monday, two days before the Raiders fly to New England
for the season-opener against the two-time defending Super Bowl champion
Patriots. ''You get back and the preseason is the preseason. Now it's time to go
and you really see how things are going to be and unfold so I'm pretty happy
with the situation.''
The Raiders offense has undergone a radical makeover since Curry limped off
the Oakland Coliseum field last December, his left ankle throbbing in pain. The
team added a new running back, revamped the offensive line a little, and added
arguably the best receiver in the NFL in Randy Moss.
Curry, who was Oakland's leading receiver before getting hurt against Kansas
City, no longer will be quarterback Kerry Collins' favorite target as he was for
much of 2004 when he caught 50 passes for 679 yards and six touchdowns.
Or will he?
With defenses figuring to devote most of their attention on Moss, Curry and
the other Raiders receivers should find themselves in favorable matchups against
the Patriots, who are playing their first game without defensive coordinator
''The biggest problem with the Raiders is that in addition to Randy, who's
clearly one of the outstanding receivers in this league, you've got a lot of
other guys to deal with,'' New England coach Bill Belichick said. ''So it's a
proven system and the Raiders have a very experienced team. They've got some
outstanding players that are dynamic and big-play guys, guys that can score from
anywhere on the field.''
Curry caught only three passes for 24 yards in the preseason, none for more
than 11 yards. Still, in his limited playing time the former North Carolina star
proved to the Raiders and himself his ankle is ready to go.
He also knows he stands to be more than just a No. 3 receiver, as he was
tabbed once the Raiders traded for Moss and re-signed Porter in the offseason.
Porter missed the entire preseason with a hamstring injury, causing Turner to
take a pessimistic viewpoint on whether or not the veteran receiver would play
against the Patriots.
Porter joked with reporters Monday on his status before turning serious.
''I feel like I went about this the right way,'' Porter said. ''I feel like
I'll be ready to contribute and play my best against New England on Thursday
night. I would have liked to have gotten at least one or two preseason games in
and gotten a chance to play against somebody. It is what it is.''
As for Curry, he's just happy to be on the field again. After drawing the
focus of defenses before he was hurt, Curry doesn't expect to be double-teamed
much, if at all, anymore.
''Hell no,'' Curry said. ''Not me, anyway. Not with 18 (Moss) out there. I
got going last year and by the time I started to get doubled, it was a little
too late. So hopefully I'll pick up where I left off and get out there. I know
Moss is going to get a lot of attention so it's going to allow me and everybody
else to get out there and do what we need to do.''