Athlete, author says little things can lead to success

He has a story to tell, a compelling one. But instead he wanted to focus on his life’s experiences as they relate to leadership training and today, after much reflection, he said he realizes it was some of the little things that changed the course of who he has become.

Rennie Curran, an All-American linebacker who was a standout at the University of Georgia and is now a free agent played with the Edmonton Eskimos and BC Lions of the CFL following NFL experiences with the Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He recalled when his rec league football coach took him to his first UGA game.

“That simple act by my coach changed my life,” Curran told the Rotary Club of Carrollton Oct. 11.

Curran, the author of the book “Free Agent — The Perspectives of A Young African American Athlete,” is now a polished motivational speaker who shared his take on leadership with the club. The son of Liberian immigrants, he learned early on the expectation of taking care of your extended family, as both his parents worked hard to support family in their home country.

Before Curran entered his senior season at Georgia, he made the decision not to finish and enter the NFL draft. At the time, he was the father of a young daughter and had obligations.

“Here I was, 22 years old, and basically I became the breadwinner for my family over night,” he said.

Curran’s stints as a professional football player gave him prime opportunities to learn about leadership — good and bad.

“I actually learned the most from bad leadership,” he said. “Favoritism and double standards hurt a person’s leadership ability.”

Curran also noted that adversity is key in building strong character and empathy is one of the most important tools in life.

“That is one of the problems within our country,” he said. “We have a lack of empathy and caring.”

Carrollton High School head football coach Sean Calhoun, who attended the meeting as a guest along with four of his players who have already committed to play at the collegiate level, asked Curran what advice would he give the boys.

“Its important that you take advantage of every opportunity while wearing that jersey. The next four years are not only about what you can do for yourself, but keep in mind what it will mean for your families down the road,” Curran said. “Take it to heart.”

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