Currie Recovering Nicely

As a wide receiver for Clemson, Airese Currie has been on the business end of some punishing hits induced by some very monstrous looking individuals. <BR><BR> But none of that compares to the blow he suffered nearly two months ago during the NCAA track and field championships in Austin, Texas.

Currie, who is also an All-American sprinter, sustained major facial injuries when he was decked with a bottle by a track star from Florida State, while at an NCAA-sponsored party.

Seminoles triple jumper Rafeeq Curry was charged with bodily injury, while teammate and sprinter Rhoan Sterling was charged with disorderly conduct.

"I would say getting hit by that bottle hurt more than being hit by a linebacker," Currie said. "I didn't have to have a lot of stitches. The cuts were bad, but they weren't anything too crucial.

"Everything's fine and everything healed properly. It didn't long at all to heal up."

Currie never saw the bottle coming. He was totally blindsided much in the way an unsuspecting quarterback is looking to pass downfield.

"That was the biggest shock," he said. "I've seen people get hit with bottles but I haven't ever imagined myself being hit with a bottle. It was kind of surprising. I was kind of in disbelief. But I've put it behind me and I'm ready to play football."

Currie wasn't the only one in shock. Tigers wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney was also stunned by the news that his starting receiver was hurt in a fight.

"I was just like, is he OK? I was concerned for him," Swinney said. "I was hoping his eye was affected, that was my initial reaction. I had a chance to talk to him on the phone and he told me what happened. He was hurt pretty bad, but felt like that he'd be OK. And he's recovered pretty nicely."

Once it was learned Currie was going to be fine, Swinney had a little discussion with him about how to try and avoid those types of situations.

"I know Coach is going to depend on me to carry the rest of the guys since we've got such a young group coming back," Currie said. (AP)
"He's got a bright future and you've just got to be careful of the environment that you put yourself in," Swinney said. "He probably shouldn't have been there, but he wasn't looking for it. But sometimes, trouble finds you. It was an unfortunate accident and hopefully he's learned from it and will be better for it."

There's a nice scar on the left side of Currie's face where the bottle made contact. And all that does is serve as a reminder to Currie to steer clear of possible danger.

However, just the fact that he's a track star means that there's a better than average chance that he's going to hurt something during the season, whether it be a muscle or joint.

"Those guys are high maintenance, those good track guys," Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said. "They've got too much muscle in there, where guys like me and you have no idea what kind of machines they are."

Last year is a prime example of that.

Currie was in the midst of a fine season when he sustained a high ankle sprain late in the year, which forced him to miss the last month of the season.

"Everything's fine, I feel real good," Currie said. "I'm just looking forward to doing big things this year. I think one of the reasons I was hurt so much was I was trying to come back a little too early and was rushing a little bit. But I believe I'll be all right this year."

Swinney is counting on Currie to live up to his words.

"If Airese doesn't have a great year, something went wrong along the way," Swinney said. "He's our best player.

"He just had one injury – a high-ankle sprain – that just had a hard time recovering and getting well. Hopefully he can avoid that this year and be healthy for 11 games. But when you play that position and run as fast as he does, if you've got a high-ankle sprain, it's hard to cut and plant. It was just one of those things that took time to get well and we didn't have time for it to get well."

Bowden said Currie, Michael Collins and Chansi Stuckey have been the most consistent through the early days of practice.

"I know Coach is going to depend on me to carry the rest of the guys since we've got such a young group coming back," Currie said. "I know he's going to depend on me to motivate them and help them come along.

"I just need to go out there, come to practice every day and go full speed every play. I've got to do extra stuff. I've got to do more than other people are doing to make myself better, which will make the team better." Top Stories