Seven years after heading to the NFL, former Bulldog linebacker Rennie Curran is keeping a promise he made to his mother and is set to graduate from the University of Georgia.
Curran declared for the NFL draft after he completed his junior season in 2009 at UGA, but his mother made him promise her and sign a contract that he would eventually come back and finish the three semesters he had left to complete his business degree. From 2007-2009, Curran was a big impact during his three seasons at UGA on defense. As a sophomore, he started all 13 games and racked up 115 total tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, 3 quarterback sacks, and was named First Team All-SEC by SEC Coaches and by Phil Steele. For his junior season, Curran was named a defensive captain, punished ball carriers for 130 total tackles, 5 tackles for a loss, 10 quarterback pressures and again made the named First Team All-SEC by SEC Coaches and by Phil Steele.
During the 2010 NFL Draft, Curran was the first Bulldog selected when the Tennessee Titans picked him in the third round with the 97th overall selection. After time with the Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he played in the Canadian Football League until 2015.
“We all have the dream of playing at the University of Georgia when we come here as student-athletes, but ultimately you realize education is what matters most,” said Curran. “That’s the one thing after your body is depleted, and after you leave the field — whether you go high or go low in your endeavors athletically — no one can ever take that degree away from you. Once you get it, the sky is the limit.”
Curran describes the past years as having “one foot in and one foot out with school.” Since 2013, Curran has been coming back to UGA during the off-season in the spring to take two to three classes at a time. Curran was also engaged in motivational public speaking and wrote his first book, “Free Agent.”
Curran said he hopes that coming back to college and achieving his dream of earning a college degree will “inspire the next generation” to do the same.
“The guys that come through look at me as a role model,” said Curran. “Hey you can be a football player and make it to the highest level. You can also get the degree as well. Even if it’s not the conventional route of finishing in four years, you can still go and achieve your dreams and finish however long it takes, as long as you get it done.”
Looking back on his road to graduation, Curran described earning his degree as challenging, especially when it came to business classes with a lot of math such as accounting. To overcome the challenging courses, Curran said he put “focus on finding solutions” instead of “focus on (his) weaknesses.” Curran described himself as “relentless” and “persistent” in his academic work ethic and sought help when needed with professors, academic advisors and tutors.
“It wasn’t pretty but at the end of the day I got the win,” Curran said about earning his degree.
Curran said he took the perseverance and discipline lessons learned in football and applied them to his academics.
“It’s similar to playing linebacker,” said Curran. “You are going to get knocked down. You are going to make some good plays. Sometimes you are going to get some bumps and bruises. It’s about getting back up and pushing forward.”
After graduation, Curran plans to continue public speaking. The former UGA linebacker is also in the process of writing more books. In addition, Curran would like to resume taking the leadership skills learned in football and applying them to life and business coaching.