With OTAs taking place and a new NFL season on the horizon, the Jets are preparing to take a step forward from their performance last year. Adding key pieces in free agency and in the draft, such as Laken Tomlinson, Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, and Garrett Wilson to name a few, the Jets addressed multiple needs and improved the overall talent on the roster.
In addition, the team will be getting key contributors back from various injuries. The first two players that come to mind are Lamarcus Joyner and Carl Lawson; Joyner adds much-needed talent, versatility, and depth to the Jets’ safety position while Lawson has the potential and talent to be the Jets’ best edge rusher this season. But while not having the over-arching impact of other returning players, no returning player has as good of a feel-good story as defensive lineman Vinny Curry.
A longtime member of the Philadelphia Eagles, Curry recorded 32 sacks, 46 tackles for loss, and 141 solo tackles in 8 seasons with the team. Prior to the 2021 season, Curry signed a one-year deal with the Jets to be one of the team’s main rotational defensive linemen. He was expected to be heavily involved with players like Lawson, John Franklin-Myers, and Sheldon Rankins to help the unit become one of the better ones in the entire NFL.
Unfortunately, a rare blood disorder was found in Curry and caused him to have his spleen removed. Speaking about this, Curry stated that it could have burst at any moment, which was the main reason it was removed. Once removed, though, Curry tried to rush back from the procedure. “I tried to rush back and I didn’t take the blood thinner correctly, and needed up catching a clot. The clot is what prolonged the recovery process,” said Curry.
This stemmed from Curry misunderstanding the recovery timeline doctors put him on, as he thought the thinners were only for a duration of two weeks and not two months. “Instead of saying I was out of it, I thought I was done. I guess on my part it was miscommunication. Instead of saying I needed a refill, I just thought I was done,” Curry said. Wanting to get back to the team by Week 7 of last season, Curry started preparing to play again after two weeks of the blood thinner. “Here I am thinking, two weeks of the blood thinner, done. Get back to shape, and here I am coming back in Week 7 or whatever week it was. When I got off the thinner and didn’t refill it, I caught the clot,” said Curry.
Once this occurred, Curry said it was scary to deal with. The experience of the blood clots and missing the entire 2021 season has given Curry a new appreciation of football. “I never took it for granted, but being layed up like that, that moment was scary. It really shows you what the game means to you.” In addition to this, Curry’s experience over the past year made him learn about perseverance and realize that he needs to keep pushing to be the best he can be for his family. “When you’re looking at your kids, and it’s like you have to take care of yourself first…You love the game so much and what it means to you, but in the blink of an eye, it could’ve taken me from my babies. It’s the most scariest thing, but at the same time, I knew I had to be there for them and my wife. It was like, I’m gonna get through this.”
While he was recovering, Curry said that the entire Jets organization was supportive of him. “The support of the whole entire building, every teammate I ever came across that hit me up every day. I fully felt the love and support,” said Curry. He also expressed his eagerness to get back on the field, stating how he “planted a rose garden” among other things in order to fill up his time. “I was just trying to do so much with my time. You’re looking at the game plan because I followed the game plan the whole entire season, and it’s like you knew that play was coming. That’s the part that really messes with you mentally because you know you’re supposed to be out there and you know it ain’t your fault. But at the of the day, it’s like damn I can’t wait to be back out there.”
For the upcoming 2022 season, Curry expects to be back at full capacity. He said that he is fully off of his blood thinners and has been cleared for football activities. Curry also said that there should be no more complications from his surgery from last season.
Curry’s story is one that is inspirational, representing perseverance through potentially dire circumstances. It has the potential to be an example for others facing difficult situations, and that fact is not lost on Curry himself. “I just hope I can inspire or just show somebody that just because one little hurdle happened, you’ll be ok,” said Curry.
When Vinny Curry takes the field this season for the Jets, he will obviously play a decent-sized role for the team on the defensive line. More importantly, though, he will serve as an inspirational story for those going through hardships and a representation of perseverance in the face of unforeseen obstacles.