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Curry ready for season

Rookie shows worth as Hawks roll over Raiders

Seattle Seahawks’ Deon Butler scores a touchdown in the first quarter.  (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Seattle Seahawks’ Deon Butler scores a touchdown in the first quarter. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Gregg Bell Associated Press

SEATTLE – Yes, Aaron Curry is ready for the real season.

Seattle’s prized fourth overall draft pick took advantage of being the only starter on the field Thursday night. He made four tackles, two for losses, hit Oakland quarterbacks twice, then sacked one and forced a fumble to set up a field goal. And that was just in the first half.

Curry’s surge was the Seahawks’ most important development in their 31-21 victory over the Raiders.

Seattle and new coach Jim Mora, coming off a 4-12 season, finished 4-0 in the preseason for the first time in its 34-year history.

Of course, the Detroit Lions did the same thing last summer – and then became the NFL’s first 0-16 team.

Oakland finished the preseason 1-3.

The Seahawks had 12 starters skip the meaningless exhibition in the name of preservation. That included every defender except Curry. The former Wake Forest star needed to learn and progress after signing late and then missing one preseason game with an injury.

Mission accomplished.

The dynamic outside linebacker, whom Seattle gave a whopping $34 million guaranteed last month, announced his readiness for the opener Sept. 13 against St. Louis late in the first half. He sped untouched around left end and hit quarterback Bruce Gradkowski just as he was about to throw. Nick Reed, a far-less-ballyhooed rookie, scooped up the fumble and returned it 16 yards to the Oakland 14.

JaMarcus Russell, the first overall pick in 2007, went 26 for 39 passing with one touchdown in the preseason.

Seattle’s starting offense, still without injured left tackle Walter Jones and center Chris Spencer, also played just one series. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who missed nine games last season with a bad back, never had a chance to get hit. He handed off five times then departed.

Seattle third-string rookie Mike Teel was 11 of 19 for 148 yards and two TDs, with backup Seneca Wallace also resting.

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