March 27, 1943 |
|High school:||Richard Montgomery High School|
|NFL Draft:||1965 / Round: 1 / Pick: 14|
|AFL draft:||1965 / Round: 3 / Pick: 21|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
James Michael "Mike" Curtis (born March 27, 1943) is a former professional American football player for the Baltimore Colts, the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington Redskins, who played 14 seasons from 1965 to 1978 in the National Football League. He was a four-time Pro Bowler in 1968, 1970, 1971 and 1974. He was considered one of the meanest players of his era. Although sacks were not official during the time he played, Curtis was a good blitzer, recording 22 sacks, including one in which a famous photograph was taken of Curtis tackling Roman Gabriel's head. Curtis also picked off 25 passes and was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 1970 by a panel of 101 sportswriters.
Curtis went to Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland, and was a 195-pound fullback as a junior in 1959. He played college football at Duke University, where he was a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection. GoDuke.com selected Curtis to its All-Century Team in 2000. On Nov 14, 2013 Curtis was inducted into the Maryland State Athletic Hall Of Fame.
Curtis was drafted as a fullback in the first round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Colts, but later switched to linebacker on the weak side (away from the tight end). He was a team captain for most of his Baltimore career. In 1970, he had five interceptions and that same season made a key pass theft that set up the game-winning field goal in the Colts' Super Bowl V win over the Dallas Cowboys. He and Ted Hendricks, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, formed a potent tandem at the linebacker position from 1969 to 1973, after which Hendricks was traded. Curtis was named the Colts' Most Valuable Player in 1974.
After a knee injury sidelined him for most of the 1975 season, he was left unprotected for the 1976 NFL Expansion Draft due to a personality conflict with general manager Joe Thomas. "I heard indirectly that I was in the expansion draft because Joe Thomas hated my guts," Curtis said. "Thomas could have had a first-round draft choice or better for me if he had wanted it." The move was made despite the objections of head coach Ted Marchibroda. Curtis was selected by the Seattle Seahawks. He played one season with them before retiring with the Redskins in 1978.
Curtis wrote one book about his career, called Keep Off My Turf, in which he states that the New York Jets, who upset the Colts in Super Bowl III, "were lucky that day", and that the 1968 Colts were "twice as good as the Jets".
One of his two sons is Ryan Curtis, a standout defender for the Virginia Cavaliers men's lacrosse team from 1997 to 2000 who also played eight seasons in Major League Lacrosse with the Boston Cannons (2001–2006, 2008) and Washington Bayhawks (2007). The younger Curtis had been the head coach of the Vermont Catamounts men's lacrosse team from September 15, 2006 - June 2016.
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