Mike Curtis (American football)

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Mike Curtis
No. 32
Date of birth: (1943-03-27) March 27, 1943 (age 72)
Place of birth: Rockville, Maryland, U.S.
Career information
Position(s): Linebacker
College: Duke
AFL Draft: 1965 / Round: 3 / Pick: 21
(by the Kansas City Chiefs)
NFL Draft: 1965 / Round: 1 / Pick: 14
As player:
Baltimore Colts
Seattle Seahawks
Washington Redskins
Career highlights and awards
Pro Bowls: 1968, 1970, 1971, 1974

AP 1st Team All-Pro (1968, 1969)
Super Bowl V Champion (1971)
Pro Football Weekly, PFWA and UPI 1st Team All-Pro (1968)
NEA 2nd Team All-Pro (1968)
The Sporting News 2nd Team All-Pro (1969)
UPI All-AFC 2nd Team (1970, 1971, 1974) 1970 NFL 101 AFC Defensive Player of the Year
20/20 Club
Duke University Sports Hall Of Fame (1981)

Maryland State Athletic Hall Of Fame (2013)
Career stats
Playing stats at NFL.com

James Michael "Mike" Curtis (born March 27, 1943 in Rockville, Maryland) is a former professional American football player for the Baltimore Colts, the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington Redskins, who played 14 seasons from 1965 to 1978 in the National Football League. He was a four-time Pro Bowler in 1968, 1970, 1971 and 1974. He was considered one of the meanest players of his era.[1] Although sacks were not official, Curtis was a good blitzer, recording 22 sacks, including one in which a famous photograph was taken of Curtis tackling Roman Gabriel's head. Curtis also picked off 25 passes and was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 1970 by a panel of 101 sportswriters.

Early career[edit]

Curtis went to Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland, and was a 195-pound fullback as a junior in 1959. He played college football at Duke University, where he was a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection. GoDuke.com selected Curtis to its All-Century Team in 2000. On Nov 14, 2013 Curtis was inducted into the Maryland State Athletic Hall Of Fame.

NFL career[edit]

Curtis was drafted as a fullback in the first round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Colts, but later switched to linebacker on the weak side (away from the tight end). He was a team captain for most of his Baltimore career. In 1970, he had five interceptions and that same season made a key pass theft that set up the game-winning field goal in the Colts' Super Bowl V win over the Dallas Cowboys. He and Ted Hendricks, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, formed a potent tandem at the linebacker position from 1969 to 1973, after which Hendricks was traded. Curtis was named the Colts' Most Valuable Player in 1974.

After a knee injury sidelined him for most of the 1975 season, he was left unprotected for the 1976 NFL Expansion Draft due to a personality conflict with general manager Joe Thomas. "I heard indirectly that I was in the expansion draft because Joe Thomas hated my guts," Curtis said. "Thomas could have had a first-round draft choice or better for me if he had wanted it."[1] The move was made despite the objections of head coach Ted Marchibroda.[2] Curtis was selected by the Seattle Seahawks.[3] He played one season with them before retiring with the Redskins in 1978.

Book writing[edit]

Curtis wrote one book about his career, called Keep Off My Turf, in which he states that the New York Jets, who upset the Colts in Super Bowl III, "were lucky that day", and that the 1968 Colts were "twice as good as the Jets".

Personal life[edit]

One of his two sons is Ryan Curtis, a standout defender for the Virginia Cavaliers men's lacrosse team from 1997 to 2000 who also played eight seasons in Major League Lacrosse with the Boston Cannons (2001–2006, 2008) and Washington Bayhawks (2007). The younger Curtis has been the head coach of the Vermont Catamounts men's lacrosse team since September 15, 2006.[4]

In 2010, after much concern was expressed by family and friends over troubling symptoms, Curtis was extensively tested at University of South Florida's Department of Psychiatry and Behavior Medicine and found to have early symptoms of dementia, likely from the impact of football.[5] Curtis has subsequently applied for and been approved to receive annual assistance payments, through the "88 Plan" (named in honor of Curtis' past teammate, Colts tight end John Mackey) from the National Football League for care due to his condition.


  1. ^ Seahawks by Doug Thiel, Sunrise Publishing Inc. Retrieved April 27, 2006
  1. Mike Curtis: Canton in the Crosshairs by Michael Calabrese, MyHOFS.com Retrieved August 19, 2011

External links[edit]