Where are they now: Former UGA linebacker Rennie Curran

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By Kevin Keneely:

Former University of Georgia great Rennie Curran (2007-2010), a native of Snellville, Ga., was All-SEC as a junior and is considered one of the greatest inside linebackers to ever play Between the Hedges. Curran, listed among Georgia’s all-time leading tacklers, with 298 career total tackles, did not only make a name for himself on the gridiron; he has had some major accomplishment outside of football as well.

Throughout his entire life, Curran has had to overcome what seems like never ending obstacles, but the 5’11” tackler has never lost sight of his goals. Speed bumps along the way did not stop him from becoming a role model both on and off the field. On the field, Curran has been an inspiration for anyone who was ever told they were undersized and would never stand a chance. Off the field, Curran continues to inspire people in all works of life. On top of being a former NFL and CFL star, he is a motivational speaker, a talented musician and the author of his hit book, “Free Agent: The Perspectives of a Young African-American Athlete.”

Whether you know him as “The Liberian Dream” or just as one of the greatest to ever don the red and black we will always know him as a man of hard work and relentless determination. One of the first things people notice about Curran when meeting him in person is a tattoo he has on his left bicep, which holds a lot of sentimental value to Curran. The top and bottom of the tattoo read “Liberian Dream” with the outline of the country and the nation’s flag that resides in the middle of the tattoo. Curran got this tattoo as a sophomore at UGA.

“It’s something of great pride for me,” Curran said. Both his mother and father are from Liberia and the tattoo represents his heritage and the culture, values and traditions taught by his parents: “two people who worked tirelessly for me and my siblings.” Curran also bears another tattoo, representing his favorite bible verse, Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengths me.”

Before football, Curran was big into music, mastering the piano, drums and viola. He began playing the piano at age 8, drums at age 10 and the viola at age 13. His junior year of high school he said he was forced to choose between football and orchestra. Though he went with football, he did not let his love for making music die. “I started producing music that same year of high school,” Curran said. “Something I want to do once football is over.”

When it came to football, Curran had a bunch of NFL role models, including Ray Lewis, Warrick Dunn, Marshall Faulk, Michael Vick and Jessie Tuggle. To Curran, the most inspirational of them all was Tuggle, due to is ability to overcome the doubts people left on him and go on to achieve a 15-year NFL career filled with a plethora or Pro Bowls. When Curran was 12-years old, he had the opportunity to be coached by Tuggle during a football camp put on by former Falcons player Stacey Bailey. At the the time, Curran had no idea who he Tuggle was. “I didn’t know who he was until high school when many people began comparing me to him,” Curran said.

Right before Curran left Snellville to attend UGA, the two began to connect again, with Tuggle acting as a mentor to Curran. To this day, Curran credits Tuggle for helping him believe that he could not only excel in the SEC, but also in the NFL.

As a freshman in 2007, Curran had no idea if he was going to be able to compete, because he was perceived as undersized and faced fierce competition in order to get on the field. For these reasons, he now looks back at his 2007 season as the highlight of his college career.

“So many awesome moments in that first year,” Curran said. One of his favorite memories from that season was being able to make big plays as he helped UGA defeat Florida, who at the time was led by Tim Tebow.

We would not even be writing this story if it was not for the fact that Curran picked the University of Georgia over a handful of other offers. Curran said  he knew throughout the entire recruiting process that he was going to play for UGA.

“That was my childhood dream,” Curran said. “I went to my first UGA game at 10 years old.” Curran’s little league coach, Ronnie Benton, took him to a game and from that moment on Curran became obsessed with everything UGA. “I let it be known during the recruiting process that Georgia is where I wanted to go.”

Going to UGA would not only keep Curran close to his family and friends, but it also gave him the opportunity to be the next great UGA player from Snellville, Georgia, where former greats David Greene and David Pollack both grew up.

While at UGA, Curran did more than just become the next great player from Snellville; he broke records. He became the 10th player in school history to lead the team in tackles for more than one season. As a sophomore and junior, Curran produced unforgettable seasons, recording 115 tackles as a sophomore and 130 tackles as a junior, becoming the first UGA player since Greg Bright to record back-to-back seasons with 100+ tackles. He was also a 3 time all American and permanent team captain. Curran then left school early, foregoing his senior season, in order to help his family. The Tennessee Titans would take Curran with the 97th pick of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Since being drafted in 2010, Curran has spent time with the Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Edmonton Eskimos, and the BC Lions. He is currently a free agent but has plans to make it back into the league this season. Curran has been training four days a week with some former Bulldogs, notably including Geno Atkins and Michael Bennett.

On top of training to make a return to the NFL, Curran has also been doing whatever he can to give back, whether he’s working with the Boys and Girls Club, MAPP International, the CETA Foundation, or by serving as a motivational keynote speaker/author. He currently has a book out called Free Agent – The Perspectives of a Young African American Athlete.” The book deals with topics such as self-confidence, self-motivation, discipline, and is also being used in schools as part of curriculum. Curran took the time to write this book after being released by the Titans.

“I started writing as a way to vent, but I quickly realized that there would be many people in my position at some point in life” Curran said. “I poured my heart into this book with the hope that it will inspire whoever reads it.”

Curran has never viewed himself as just being a football player, and his goal is to be able to reach many more people.

“I have plans to write a book that targets college students and student athletes, businesses and younger kids as well.” He currently has four more book ideas that he is working on, but with his football career still on-going, there is no time-table for when they will be released.

Curran is striving for success not only for himself, but also for his beautiful young daughter Eleana, an athlete just like himself and an impressive soccer player. Eleana is entering her third season and has already won two championships so far. Curran cherishes the time he is able to spend with her while she competes, and thoroughly enjoys watching her develop as an athlete.

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