Medical issues kept Jets defensive end Vinny Curry off the field last season. Instead of spending his Sundays tackling ballcarriers, he spent his time tackling household projects.
“Bro, let me tell y’all something, I probably rearranged and did construction in my house like no other, just trying to occupy my time,” Curry said this week at Jets organized team activities. “It was so bad, I even planted a rose garden at my house. A rose garden! Like come on, man.”
It turns out Curry is a better football player than a botanist. The rose buds never bloomed, but Curry is now back to his day job. The 33-year-old has rejoined the Jets after dealing with surgery to remove his spleen last year, followed by a blood clot and a prescription for blood thinners that kept him off the field.
“I’ve been playing this game since I was 5 or 6 years old,” Curry said. “You love the game so much and what it means to you, but in a blink of an eye, this could’ve taken me away from my babies. It was the most scariest thing. But at the same time, I knew I had to be here for them and my wife and it was like, ‘I’m going to get through this,’ you know?”
Curry signed with the Jets in March 2021 on a one-year $1.3 million deal after spending most of his career with the Eagles. The Jets expected him to be a veteran presence on their defensive line, but the medical issues caused him to miss the entire season.
“I felt like I let the guys down,” Curry said. “I was trying to rush back to them and be a part of the group.”
Jets doctors first discovered a rare blood disorder in Curry last June. That led to the removal of his spleen in July. A blood clot then developed because Curry misunderstood how long he was supposed to take blood thinners.
Curry did not leave the Jets, though. He spent the season around the team and helped when he could.
“He’s an unbelievable person, first and foremost,” defensive tackle Quinnen Williams said. “Last year while he was going through what he was going through, we all prayed for him and we all talked to him, but he was still a dialed-in leader.”
The toughest days for Curry were game days, when he would watch the team alone. He knew the game plan, but had to watch others execute it.
“And that’s the part that really messes with you mentally because it’s like, damn, you know you’re supposed to be out there and you know it’s not your fault,” he said. “But at the end of the day, it’s like, damn, I can’t wait to be back out there. And that kind of motivated me to persevere and be here in front of you guys today.”
The Jets released Curry in January, then re-signed him in April. Curry is now part of a defensive line that should be the strength of the 2022 Jets, with the return of Carl Lawson, and the addition of Jermaine Johnson and Solomon Thomas, to join Williams, John Franklin-Myers and Sheldon Rankins.
“I’m back to normal,” Curry said. “Back to doing backflips.”