Former Eskimos linebacker Rennie Curran grateful for chance with B.C. Lions

Source: The Canadian Press/ Jeff McIntosh
Source: The Canadian Press/ Jeff McIntosh

SURREY, B.C. – Rennie Curran is already hearing it from his former teammates. Those chirps from the Edmonton Eskimos could get a lot louder very soon.

The free-agent linebacker signed with the B.C. Lions this week and says he’s ready to go if his new club needs him when it meets his old one at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday.

“I talked to a bunch of the guys (on Edmonton). They all know that I’m over here,” the 26-year-old said with a smile. “It’s real small network of guys in the CFL.”

A third-round pick of the Tennessee Titans back in 2010, Curran spent the last two seasons with the Eskimos, amassing 123 defensive tackles, two sacks and two interceptions in 34 games.

“It’s definitely going to be weird,” said the native of Snellville, Ga. “Just looking at the film as an enemy, as opposed to preparing for another team is definitely strange — seeing my guys who I became close with, knowing I’m going to have to go up against them.

“I know there’s going to be a lot of smack talking, but it’s going to be fun as well.”

Curran decided to try his luck at landing an NFL job after his contract expired with Edmonton after last season, but when nothing materialized he looked north of the border for work once again.

“It’s been really hard. I got tired of looking at weights,” he said. “I’ve been working out with other free agents, just staying motivated, working as if I’m going to get a call the next day. I’m glad that I did stay ready because the opportunity did present itself and now I’m ready to go.”

Curran joins a Lions defence that was already struggling before it lost standout linebacker Solomon Elimimian to a torn Achilles tendon last month. B.C. (4-7) heads into the tilt against Edmonton (8-4) second-last in total yards allowed per game at 399.6 while giving up and average of nearly 29 points. The Lions also rank at the bottom of the league by a wide margin in rushing yards against (127.6) and are third-worst against the pass (272.0).

“He played really well when he was up here. He had a great career at (the University of Georgia) and was very well-respected by our coaches who used to evaluate him and play against him,” said B.C. head coach Jeff Tedford. “He’s a guy who brings a lot to the table, a lot of skill, a very good player. We’re anxious to increase the learning curve for him so he can be a part of what we’re doing.”

Lions running back Andrew Harris said he’s glad the five-foot-11 230-pound Curran is on his side now after having to face him the last two years.

“He’s definitely a house. You just look at him, he’s a monster,” said Harris. “Hopefully he can help us out and get in quickly and make some plays.”

It’s unclear whether or not that will happen this weekend, but Curran is eager to help B.C. snap a two-game slide as it battles for a playoff spot in the West Division.

“Just from the little bit that I’ve watched, the morale is still high,” he said. “Obviously the record’s not where everybody wants it to be, but the record doesn’t always represent the true effort and true form of the team. I’m hoping I can add some leadership and a little bit of spark on defence.”