Mike Curtis is one of the finest football players Duke ever produced. A 1965 graduate, he went on to play for the Baltimore Colts, the Seattle Seahawks and, as they were then known, the Washington Redskins.
He was really good, making four pro bowls, first team All-Pro twice, the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 1970 and also got a Super Bowl ring in 1968.
But despite that sterling resume, he was perhaps most famous for an unusual play, if we can call it that.
In 1971, a drunken fan rushed the field and tried to take the ball.
Big mistake: Curtis absolutely leveled the guy. Later he said that the man was interfering in his place of work.
Curtis died in 2019, not surprisingly given what we know now, of CTE. It’s an agonizing and difficult way to end your life. It’s a very difficult issue for the sport because almost anyone who plays for any length of time has a high chance of developing the condition. Read this very sad story about the late Nick Buoniconti and the price he paid.
People love football and lots of guys find meaning in the game. But we now know that very few are going to escape this fate.