- Kieran Darcy, ESPN Staff Writer
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Linebacker Aaron Curry was among the players making their Giants debut Wednesday in the team's first organized team activities of the offseason.
Curry lined up with the second unit, but his performance in the locker room after practice was starter-worthy.
The No. 4 overall pick in the 2009 draft was refreshingly candid about why he hasn't lived up to expectations thus far in his NFL career.
"I knew I could do it, and I knew I would do it. I just don't think at the time I was interested in doing it," Curry said. "I think I was interested in other things, and at the time football just wasn't my top priority, to be honest."
Curry signed a six-year, $60 million contract in 2009 after Seattle drafted him out of Wake Forest. By the middle of the 2011 season, the Seahawks had seen enough, shipping him to Oakland for a pair of draft picks. He played in just two games for the Raiders last season before being released.
"When I played in college I was motivated by many things," Curry said. "I was motivated by poverty. I was motivated by being overlooked. I was motivated by being the underdog and all that stuff. And then [I] get picked fourth overall, and the money replaced the poverty, and solved a lot of problems that I had. So the status kind of got rid of all my motivations, and I lacked the motivation that was pushing me out there to drive me to be my best every day.
"What's driving me now is just that God's given me a second chance. Every day I wake up, I think about how I could be somewhere else. God has a plan, and my job every day is to go out there every day and take every opportunity that God has given me to bring praise to his name."
Curry also credits Ken Norton Jr., his position coach in Seattle.
"He was just honest with me," Curry said. "He would never let me slide on anything. He was harsh. But at the same time, I knew it was because he cared. All along he was just trying to get me to the point where I understood that there’s a certain way to be an NFL player, there's a certain way to be a linebacker."
Curry's struggles last season were also due to an injury to his right knee.
"I showed up to offseason program last year, and my knee, it just wasn't right," Curry said. "I couldn't do anything that I was used to being able to do.
"Because I had gotten to the whole team-first mentality, I kinda tried to tough through everything, which I believe set me back. I think one of the best things that happened to me was when I got released, it gave me time. I didn't have a team, so I was able to focus on myself, I was able to go get it taken care of."
Curry had surgery on the knee in December, and said his rehab and physical therapy has been "amazing."
"Now I'm able to go out there, run around, drop my hips, change direction and just give the Giants everything I have," he said.
The Giants, who gave up 383.4 yards per game last season -- second-to-last in the NFL -- could use some help at linebacker. Two starters from last season, Michael Boley and Chase Blackburn, were not re-signed.
Coughlin said he needs to see more from Curry, but admitted being intrigued by his talent.
"The feeling is that maybe this time around the player has figured it out," Coughlin said. "Maybe he didn't have it all in the proper perspective the first time around."
It certainly sounds like Curry has the proper perspective now.
"I approach everything different," Curry said. "I see details now. Football is important now. It has a priority in my life. I'm willing to do whatever it takes that's gonna help the Giants be successful.
"Now I'm more about finding a way to just put out a lot of effort and a lot of energy, and just cause havoc."
Curry said approximately 10 teams expressed interest in him this offseason, but once he visited with the Giants two weeks ago, he was sold.
"When I got here to do my workout, I just saw some stuff -- how people were talking and interacting with one another," Curry said. "And I see how they handle things around here. I don't understand how people come in here and leave."
Sounds like a player thrilled to be in New York, and thrilled to have a second chance.