It should have been a happier story.
Rookie defensive end Vinny Curry has always loved the Eagles. They were the team he cheered for growing up in Neptune, N.J. Though Curry was selected in the second round in last April's draft, Curry had not seen any regular season playing time. But on Monday night, after 11 weeks of waiting, Curry finally got to don the midnight green and take the field for his hometown team.
Unfortunately, the game didn't go the way he envisioned. The Eagles fell to the Panthers, extending their losing streak to seven games. Despite a solid performance in his first action of the regular season, Curry's mind wasn't dwelling on the positives.
"The only thing that has sunk in is this loss," he said after the game. "It hurts."
Curry had an encouraging outing, finishing third on the team with five tackles, including one on his first snap. He also nearly got to quarterback Cam Newton for a sack on two different occasions.
"I think I did a good job. I gave it all I had," Curry said. "I almost had a couple (sacks). But things just slipped away. I got knocked off the one time. But I was bringing it. I was just trying to make a statement ... I work very hard at my craft. I just tried to go out there and show it today."
The normally energetic Curry was anything but in the locker room. He pointed out, however, that wasn't the case during the game. And though the end result wasn't what the Eagles expected, there were plenty of positives. Fellow rookie Bryce Brown started at running back and rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Curry's closeness with the rookie class made it easy to get excited on the sideline.
"I don't know if you saw me, but I was a maniac on the sideline (when the offense was out on the field)," Curry said. "I was just trying to keep guys up because, like I said, they work hard and I see it."
That energy isn't lost on his team. Even the head coach felt Curry's impact in the game and on the sidelines.
"I thought Vinny did some good things," head coach Andy Reid said after the game. "He's one of those kids who brings a positive energy, plays hard and aggressive."
The Eagles' 30-22 loss dropped the Eagles to 3-8. It's a position no one in the locker room was expecting. While Curry has only been active one game, he's been around the team since the spring. He sees the work ethic of those around him. He also sees the team not making the big plays on defense.
"I just feel bad for these guys," Curry said. "Look around. These dudes work hard. We're just not reaping the reward. It hurts."
While the Eagles may not have been able to take down the Panthers on Monday night, Eagles nation was at least able to catch a glimpse of the local kid's promise.
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