Curry believes he's on the way out in Oakland

Ronald Curry has been the Raiders leading receiver each of the last two seasons. But after losing his starting job two weeks ago, Curry believes he's being slowly pushed out of the door and says it's almost certain he'll be playing elsewhere next season.

Speaking publicly for the first time since being replaced in Oakland's offense by rookie Chaz Schilens, a frustrated Curry talked at length about his disappointing season and his demotion to special teams after catching only eight passes for 74 yards and one touchdown.

"Obviously it hurts, it stings, you know what I'm saying?" Curry said Wednesday. "It's like the team gave up on me. I ain't going to give up on myself. I'm just going to keep fighting and one day I'll get another opportunity to go out there and make some plays.

"Obviously you go from playing to getting one or two snaps a game, the decision is being made. I'm going to go out there and continue to work at practice, work at games, and one the season's over the picture's pretty clear."

Curry signed a five-year, $20 million contract with the Raiders prior to the 2007 season. The deal included $8.5 million in guarantees, Oakland rewarding Curry for his past performances and also with the thought that he could be a cornerstone for the offense.

Curry responded with 55 catches for 717 yards and four touchdowns last year but also dropped several other throws, a problem that has continued to plague him this season.

The 29-year-old is earning $2 million in base salary this year and is scheduled to make $3.5 million in 2009, $3 million in 2010 and $4 million in 2011. That's one reason Curry thinks he's being phased out of the Raiders' plans.

"I think I make too much money to sit on the bench," he said. "I'm sure they're not going to pay me what they're supposed to pay me next year to fill the same role that I'm going to fill next year. Obviously Chaz is going to be here next year, Javon (Walker) is going to be here next year and who else? Johnnie Lee (Higgins). I could see if I was still in the mix but you never know. My mindset, I want to play, I want to be on the field. Just the way the business is, I don't see being here next year if this is going to be my role."

A seventh-round draft pick in 2002, Curry has been one of the Raiders most talented and productive receivers but he's also been beset by a number of injuries. He twice injured his Achilles tendon, requiring surgery both times. He also had an operation this past offseason for bone spurs.

Still, he went into training camp believing he had the edge on one of the two starting jobs. He quickly realized that wasn't the case.

"That's probably one of the most disappointing things," Curry said. "Even when I first came into camp and they kind of slapped me in the face, I did everything (Lane) Kiffin asked me to do. And when I get to camp they get to playing these games. I'm still doing everything they're asking me to do. It just seems like one big game. But I don't say much. I just go about my business. It seems like I'm an easy target.

"Right now now we made one change, it was me. So it's like was it me? Was it the reason the passing game wasn't going and blah, blah, blah. It's a tough pill to swallow, especially when you go from that to not playing at all. Like I said, the picture's pretty clear. My mindset is to go out there, work hard, and put film out there for other teams. If I get another opportunity I feel like my past kind of speaks for itself and I've shown that I can make plays and hopefully my talent will be wanted somewhere else."

Curry said he has not spoken to interim head coach Tom Cable, nor does he intend to.

"Basically (wide receivers coach James) Lofton was like they were going to ride with Chaz and he said the head coach would come talk to me but I haven't talked to anybody about it really," Curry said. "It's just more like he came and said that to me and that was it. And that's just how they be rollin‘. Even when I was playing we had a rotation and now we don't have a rotation. It's like I ain't good enough.

"But it's been like (that) since April. From coming to camp and them putting Drew (Carter) in there as a starter to when Drew gets hurt they bring Ashley (Lelie) in. I come out of the game when they're throwing the ball deep or if it's a double move or something like that. Or they want to get somebody else on the field, Ronald's the always the one that comes of the field to give someone else that opportunity. It's been going on since April like I said, when they put Drew in there. So I had, I guess, a little bit of time to prepare for it. For them to put somebody else in there like I'm not getting the job done and asking them to do something I feel I can do, that's on them."

SB Report Top Stories