Who's the best receiver in the NFC Central with the initials C.C.? You're right if you said Minnesota's Cris Carter. But in Chicago, Curtis Conway finally is emerging as the big-play receiver the Bears were looking for when they made him the seventh pick in the 1993 draft.
In his first two seasons Conway had four touchdown receptions, which didn't exactly make anybody forget Willie Gault. But this season he already has eight TDs, and he is second on the team with 29 catches.
Heck, after Conway caught three scoring passes in the Bears' 30-27 victory over the Jaguars on Oct. 15, Bear coach Dave Wannstedt couldn't contain his excitement. "Everyone screamed for three years about [Curtis not] making big plays," Wannstedt said. "Well, that was a big play Curtis made today, a reflection of what Rice and those guys do." Wannstedt was referring to Conway's third TD, a 15-yard route he turned into a 46-yard score.
"I think Curtis is getting into a comfort zone on going across the middle," says Bear quarterback Erik Kramer. "There are a lot of plays to be made in there, but not too many guys want to go in there."
Conway, who grew up on the streets of South Central L.A., has no such fear. One reason it has taken him so long to produce is that he had trouble adjusting from L.A., where he starred for Southern Cal, to Chicago. But his off-season marriage—his wife's name is Leoria—and the birth of twin sons, Cameron and Kelton, have had a soothing effect.
"Everyone makes a big deal out of football, but you don't make yourself or break yourself playing football," Conway says. "The main thing is taking care of your family, and this [football] is taking care of my family."