Vinny Curry’s Journey is an Inspiration to Future Shore Conference Stars
Long before he became an 11-year NFL veteran and Super Bowl champion, Vinny Curry faced a crossroads in his football career.
Following his senior season at Neptune in 2005, Curry spent a year at a prep school in Cincinnati, where his play was good enough to get him a scholarship to Marshall University. However, his academic struggles meant that under the NCAA’s Proposition 48, he had to spend a year to get his grades up if he wanted to have a chance to be on the field a year later.
For the first time in his life, Curry couldn’t play in games and wasn’t even allowed to put on a uniform or stand on the sideline during Marshall’s 2007 season due to his Prop 48 status.
He could’ve thrown in the towel, dropped out and let his frustration derail his football dreams. Instead, he stayed on schedule with his classes and his workouts by bonding with fellow Proposition 48 teammates Brandon Bullock and Delvin Johnson.
“Once you get around people with the same goals as you, that can be an influence,” he said.
Curry persevered to earn his spot on the team, but only registered nine tackles in seven games while seeing limited playing time in 2008. He cried himself to sleep thinking maybe it was time to transfer, but he wouldn’t give up.
“I had one goal on my mind,” Curry said. “I knew at an early age I wanted to be a college All-American, and I would do whatever it took to achieve that.”
He made it a reality, earning 2011 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year honors with 74 tackles and 11 sacks. Last year, he was inducted into the Marshall University Athletic Hall of Fame.
“Every time a door closes, another one opens, so when your opportunity comes, you have to take full advantage,” he said.
He also elevated himself to become one of the nation’s top pass rushers while enduring the heartbreak of losing his mother, who died in 2011. A year later, he was a second-round draft pick of the Eagles on his way to a career that has spanned three NFL teams and included a Super Bowl ring with Philadelphia in 2018.
The resilience he showed during that crucial period at Marshall served him well when he faced more obstacles and heart-wrenching loss during his NFL career.
In 2020, Curry grieved his beloved brother, Dr. Gerald Glisson, a principal at Paterson Eastside High School. Glisson died from COVID-19 in the early stages of the pandemic, which Curry wrote left him “lost” and “torn.”
A year later, Curry missed the entire season with the New York Jets in 2021 after a blood disorder he was born with caused a life-threatening ordeal that necessitated the removal of his spleen. Curry then rebounded to play 11 games for the Jets this past season.
He now hopes to impart everything he’s learned through all his trials to the next generation of Shore Conference stars. He has returned to his roots by sponsoring this year’s All-Shore Gridiron Classic through his Rush2Victory Foundation. He envisions it as just the beginning of giving back to the Shore, where he has also run a series of youth camps for years.
The next wave of Shore standouts most likely won’t play 10-plus years in the NFL and win a Super Bowl, but they can take motivation from a player who was once in their shoes. He faced the hardest of obstacles and kept going.
“I'm just blessed, and I thank God every day,” Curry said. “I've got to share this light. There might be somebody playing in this game that's going to be the next Vinny Curry.”