SI.com At The Draft (cont.)
New York City, 3:14 p.m.
Aaron Curry, the Butkus Award-winning linebacker from Wake Forest, had just finished a quiet dinner with over a dozen family and friends at ESPN Zone on Friday night when he found out he would not be the top pick in the NFL Draft.
True to his high-character reputation that had been as much of an attraction for teams in this draft process as his football ability, Curry sent a text message to Lions general manager Martin Mayhew congratulating him on coming to terms with Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford. Mayhew quickly got back to Curry, assuring him it was a tough choice for the team and that Curry was sure to be a great pro. Asked about that conversation this morning after finishing brunch with his family at the Westin hotel in Times Square, Curry seemed perfectly at ease with not being the No. 1 pick, which is something he had wanted, if not sweated over.
Despite his praise for Stafford, and his compliments for the Lions, that does not mean, however, that Curry was just going to shrug his massive shoulders and forget about it. Instead, his shoulders had suddenly gotten an attachment. "It's another chip," he said. "First high school, then college [he was lightly recruited out of E.E. Smith High School in Fayetteville, NC], now this," he said.
Kansas City, 3:04 p.m.
One of the sources said not only has there been no deal reached, but there have been no substantive talks between the Chiefs and David Dunn, the agent for Cassel, for a new contract.
I noted with some interest at the NFL meetings less than a month ago that Dunn was frustrated that the Chiefs apparently planned to allow Cassel to play the season at his one-year tender of $14.65 million. And the two sources I've spoken to say nothing has changed, that there is not a new deal with the Chiefs' quarterback of the future in place.
Kansas City, 2:59 p.m.
Just getting set up at the Chiefs' headquarters. The team offices used to be a few hundred yards away at Arrowhead, inside the stadium. Now they're in the practice complex, next to three full-sized fields, in a new sanitized building. No sight of the football people over here on the media side.
Give me a couple of minutes to get some reaction on the report from Mike Lombardi on the new $36 million contract for quarterback Matt Cassel.
Detroit, 2:43 p.m.
Move over, Rodney Peete. Matthew Stafford is the new No. 9 in Detroit. The Lions first-round pick has made his first pick, and it's No. 9 for a jersey number. Not much history to this particular digit in Lions history, unless you consider Peete an underrated Motown legend. Last I heard, the former USC passer was wiling his days away on the set of FOX's Best Damn Sports Show Period. In other words, obscurity.
One press room veteran here at the Lions team complex did come up with a famous Detroit No. 9, but no matter how well he plays, Stafford will never replace Gordie Howe in the hearts of this city's fans.
Detroit, 2:34 p.m.
I'm getting a serious case of the willies being at the Lions' Allen Park team complex here for draft weekend. I was last in this building on draft weekend 2002, which also happens to be the most recent year Detroit took a first-round quarterback, selecting the doomed-to-fail Joey Harrington at No. 3.
Just coincidence? Maybe. But we'll see how far this one happens to extend, won't we?
You might remember that the big controversy of that selection was that then-Lions general manager Matt Millen supposedly wasn't all that crazy about taking Harrington, but gave in to the wishes of the team's owners, the Ford family, who thought a new face of the franchise was needed. Reports later surfaced that Millen was on board, but then-head coach Marty Mornhinweg wanted Texas cornerback Quentin Jammer in that No. 3 spot.
This year, it was clear that new head coach Jim Schwartz was Matthew Stafford's biggest proponent within the organization, but sources told me that other members of the front office (general manager Martin Mayhew and team president Tom Lewand) had varying degrees of questions about the wisdom of taking the Georgia quarterback.
I guess vigorous debate and a little dissent when it comes to first-round quarterbacks are just Detroit traditions on draft weekend.
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