Currie Getting Closer?

Bourbonnais - Airese Currie has been working after practice on route running and catching the ball, but is he any closer to being able to practice?

Before the draft, Currie had surgery to repair a stress fracture in the left foot. While that didn't stop the Bears from taking him in the fifth round 140th overall) of the draft, the procedure has kept him from working with the team. He opened training camp on the Active/Non-Football Injury list and is eligible to return to practice with the team upon passing a physical examination. "I think I'm getting closer, but I think the trainers know more about it than I do," Currie said. "I'll just continue to work after practice and try to get better every day." The three-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference sprinter could help the stretch the field, if he can get on it. He's missed mini-camp, all of the OTAs and nearly two weeks of training camp, which begs the question, even if healthy will he be mentally ready to contribute in 2005. "We drafted him for a reason because we think he can play," said receivers coach Daryl Drake. "When he's healthy and ready to go we'll ask that question then." The speedy wideout finished his career tied for seventh on Clemson's all-time list for receptions (138) and sixth in receiving yards (2,030) while totaling 10 TDs and averaging 14.7 yards per catch. He started 27 of 46 career games played for the Tigers. As a senior he earned first-team ACC honors, as he hauled in 61 passes for 868 yards and 2 touchdowns. He went up against some top level competition playing in the ACC, including hauling in 7 balls for 128 yards against Miami cornerback Antrel Rolle, who was the eighth pick in April's draft. There is a good chance the Bears will try to stash Currie on Injured Reserve in what will resemble a redshirt year. At this point he's unsure if he'll be cleared to play in the preseason. The team will carry five or six receivers and being able to put him on IR would take variable out of the equation. "He's so far behind right now just by not having repetition," Drake said. "The more reps they get the better they get." The five-foot-11, 185-pounder has not been hampered by soreness in the foot, but staying in shape is a difficult challenge when his conditioning has had to take a back seat. With a number of young receivers in a similar position, Currie has had to sit idle while the competition heats up in Bourbonnais. "It's tough, just being on the sidelines watching everyone make plays, but I've just got to be patient and my time will come and when that is I'll be ready," Currie said.

Bear Report Top Stories