Linebacker is reported to receive a guaranteed $34 million and a total package of up to $60 million
RENTON — Linebacker Aaron Curry entered practice to cheers from the 1,500 fans and an introduction over the loudspeaker.
About two hours later, Curry left the field, his arms full as he carried five different helmets, completing his transformation from Seattle’s last unsigned draft pick to rookie underling.
Curry signed a six-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday afternoon. The team did not disclose the financial specifics. According to a source, the deal is guaranteed to pay $34 million and worth a potential maximum of $60 million.
Curry missed the first eight days of training camp, staying home in Bellevue while the sides negotiated a deal for the No. 4 overall pick. The sides worked out an agreement on a six-year contract, which is longer than most first-round picks. Quarterback Matthew Stafford — the No. 1 overall pick by Detroit — is the only other first-round pick to agree to a six-year deal so far this year.
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“We were adamant on the length of the deal,” president Tim Ruskell said. “These deals are so big, we felt, ‘Get as much time as you can.’
“We wanted him to be a Seahawk for a long time.”
Coach Jim Mora knew an agreement was reached before practice began Saturday afternoon, but teammates like Lofa Tatupu had no idea Curry was signed until he ran onto the field for practice.
Curry, himself, found out when he was awakened from a Saturday afternoon nap with a phone call from his agent telling him to get to practice. Seahawks vice president John Idzik didn’t sleep a wink Friday night, hammering out the details of the contract to make Curry’s arrival possible.
“These are very complicated,” Ruskell said of the contract specifics. “Probably the longest contract we’ll ever do in terms of pages and volume, just little nuances to the deal.”
Curry missed Seattle’s first 11 practices, and he said Saturday may have been his breaking point had something not gotten done.
“Some things you can only stay away from for so long,” he said. “I just knew that [Saturday] would be my day that I might have lost it if I hadn’t got on a helmet and cleats.”
Seattle released wide receiver Billy McMullen to make room on the 80-man roster.
Curry, 23, is 6 feet 2, 254 pounds and will be the starting strongside linebacker, though Mora said he’s not sure when Curry will be ready to step in with the first-string defense in practice.
“He’s got a lot of work to do,” Mora said.
But Curry is built perfectly for the job, and he’ll be up to speed sooner rather than later in the opinion of his defense’s captain.
“A linebacker, it’s not rocket science,” Tatupu said. “You hit the man with the ball. I don’t want to make it sound like it’s that easy, but it’s not like he’s playing quarterback or something. That’s something you want to be in there every snap.”
Curry cannonballed straight into practice without so much as an extended stretch. He gave up a pair of receptions to fellow rookie Cameron Morrah in one-on-one pass-coverage drill.
He stayed after practice, signed autographs and posed for pictures and then collected five helmets, part of the responsibilities that now belong to Seattle’s newest millionaire.
“That comes with being a rookie,” he said. “And as a rookie, I’m here to gain the respect from the team and if that means carrying helmets, shoulder pads, whatever it takes, I’m willing to do it.”
Danny O’Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org