New Bucs defensive end Vinny Curry knows a thing or two about turnarounds, having been on a last-place Eagles team in 2016 that went on to win a Super Bowl a year later.
The amazing thrill of winning a championship is something he wants to experience again with his new team.
"That whole Super Bowl run … let me tell you, that's contagious and very addictive," said Curry, 29, who started all 16 games for Philadelphia, with a career-best 42 tackles. "To win it, that was the ultimate of feelings … the confetti is coming down in your team colors and you can see everyone in the building, from the chefs to the custodians, just crying and enjoying that moment together. There's nothing like that, ever."
The Bucs, 5-11 and in last place in the NFC South a year ago, have taken major steps to address their defensive line. Defensive tackle Chris Baker and defensive end Robert Ayers were cut, and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald wasn't re-signed as a free agent, with Curry and defensive tackles Beau Allen and Mitch Unrein taking their place.
The Eagles' defensive line set up the NFL's No. 1 rush defense on the way to that Super Bowl, and the hope is that Curry — released by the Eagles due to a $9-million salary — can be an upgrade on Ayers in a revamped front four. Stopping the run, he said, runs parallel to being able to sack the quarterback.
"In our d-line room, tackles for loss are almost as good as getting a sack," said Curry, who had only three sacks last year but was a consistent source of pressure. "When you're hunting and you can tackle a running back behind the line of scrimmage, that's just another tally to put on the board to be proud of in our room, as a defense."
The Bucs gave Curry a three-year deal worth $27-million, and will likely address defensive end prominently in the draft. They hope to have third-year pro Noah Spence healthy after being limited by shoulder injuries in each of his first two seasons in Tampa. Another invaluable addition is new defensive line coach Brentson Buckner, who replaced Jay Hayes and has already impressed his newest addition.
"When I talked to him on the phone, it seemed like he had a manual out on me: 'Okay, this guy understands Vinny Curry,'" said Curry, a second-round pick out of Marshall in 2012. "The way he wants guys to rush and wants his d-line room to be, I thought it suited me best."
Curry is out to show he can still be an every-down lineman, after coming off the field on third down more than he might have liked as part of a deep rotation of pass-rushers in Philadelphia. He said his coach can lead him to water this fall, but it's up to himself to drink.
"There's something special brewing here," he said. "I'm glad to be part of it and I wanted to be a part of it."