The steps Curry has taken since his mother died almost a year ago have been incremental. When Jackson was diagnosed with terminal cancer in September 2011, Curry nearly left Marshall University. A month later, he contemplated leaving again.
But he stayed. Curry had elected to return for his senior season even though he would have been drafted after a junior year in which he led all defensive linemen in the nation with 94 tackles and was fifth with 12 sacks.
"I'm a big team guy. I love my team," Curry said. "I had my coaches to lean on and the whole community at Marshall. They were all there for me. It was unbelievable. At my mom's funeral, there was a lot of flowers there from the Marshall community."
Despite the heavy heart, and a few public cries for help on social media sites, Curry finished the season. He did not play at the same level he had played in his junior season, but he was still dominating enough to be named Conference USA defensive player of the year after recording 11 sacks, seven forced fumbles, and 22 tackles for loss.
Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn said he kept tabs on Curry during his senior season.
"I kept asking the scouts, 'How's that guy from Marshall doing?' " Washburn said. " 'He's doing good, but he's got problems.' . . . 'Well, what are his problems?' His mom passed and the circumstances [under] which she died - I'd have problems, too."
Curry performed well in January's Senior Bowl, however, and his draft stock rose. Some analysts predicted that he would be a first-round pick. But his 40-yard-dash time at the Indianapolis combine a month later wasn't fast - he ran mediocre 4.9s - and some questioned whether his success in college was because he played at a smaller Division I-A program.
"I went over and worked him out," Washburn said. "I don't care what he runs at the combine. Who cares?"
Still, the 6-foot-3, 266-pound Curry had a first-round grade by some heading into the draft. He kept falling and falling, though, right to the Eagles, who didn't necessarily need a defensive end. But they couldn't pass on Curry with the 59th overall pick.
"A lot of people thought I wasn't focused no more," Curry said. "I made it into the best situation. I'm here now. I'm just going to try to be the best teammate I can be, and the best player that these guys drafted."
Curry, a native of Neptune, N.J., grew up an Eagles fan. The day after he was drafted, he arrived at the NovaCare Complex and got to meet a number of his childhood heroes because Brian Dawkins was officially retiring as an Eagle.
Now he's in their shoes. After Tuesday's afternoon practice, Curry was one of the few players to stop and sign autographs.
"You don't know how many people you can touch just by talking to their kids, taking the time out to sign autographs when it's hot out," Curry said. "That's the least you can do. These people pay to see you perform and do something you love to do."
Curry will get time to develop, since the Eagles have so much depth at defensive end.
"He's a little bit farther behind playing where he played," Washburn said. "But he'll be fine. Tough."
Curry has a gentle demeanor, however, and is often smiling - just like his mother, he said.
"She was always smiling," Curry said. "No matter how the day was going, she was always smiling."
Just before Marshall played Florida International in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl in December, Curry said he had the tattoo of his mother with her toothy grin inked to his forearm.
"I think about her every day, but she's with me," Curry said. "She's looking down on me. All I can do is try to do my best and be the best person I can be on and off the field."
Contact Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.