On June 12, 2018, the Washington Redskins honored replacement players from the team’s 1987 squad with Super Bowl rings in a ceremony at Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park.
Although he was unable to attend the event, one of the players who received a ring was former Savannah State linebacker Robert “Bobby” Curtis.
“The moment I was told that I would receive a Super Bowl Ring, I was unable to articulate my feelings. I was speechless. You just start thinking wow, this is the best news that I have received in a very long time. I just started smiling and the smile continues on and on. You are grateful that the after years you experience of aches and pains, the sprained ankles and blown out knee was not in vain and now the prize we worked so hard to achieve has been awarded, the Super Bowl Ring, a token of your efforts,” stated Bobby.
The feeling is also bittersweet.
“Although I am grateful for the recognition, I regret that it was not done about six years earlier because my dad would have been able to share this momentous occasion with me and my family.
Ironically, Bobby was in the Redskins training camp during the summer but was released.
“Before I got the call to join the Redskins, I had just been released by the New York Jets. I then tried out for the Washington Redskins and was cut by them too. I was the last one cut from the team right before the season started. When the NFL players went on strike, I was one of the first replacement linebackers The Redskins called. Because I had just been cut a couple days before I received a call from Joe Gibbs to play, I was ready and ended up starting in all three games at outside linebacker position. “
He still has fond memories of playing for Washington.
“It feels great to finally be recognized for my contributions to the Washington Redskins’ Super Bowl win, 31 years ago. I’m still asked about those games to this day, especially since the Redskins made the decision to recognize us. People still talk about the hit I put on Tony Dorsett, when we played with the Dallas Cowboys. It was a Monday night game.”
During the strike the regular Redskin players were not favorites of the replacement players but Bobby said they ended up respecting them. They respected us because we were trying to take advantage of an opportunity that was given to us.”
Bobby’s football playing days continued after the 1987 season. “I went on to play Canadian football with the Ottawa Rough Riders and World League with Ohio Glory. I was a starting outside linebacker for the Ohio Glory, where we used the University of Ohio State facility. My professional football days ended when I tore a ligament in my right knee, playing for the Ohio Glory team.”
Bobby is the son of Sarah Curtis and the late Robert Curtis. Both of his parents graduated from Fort Valley State. His mom was the Wildcats Homecoming queen while his dad was a star on the football field. Bobby’s talents on the gridiron at Jones County High School led to him earning a football scholarship to Jacksonville State.
“I left Jacksonville State University because things just did not work out for me there. So, I left and went to Savannah State because my parents had moved to Hinesville, Ga., which was about 30 miles from the school.”
Bobby red-shirted his first year at SSU but during his senior season in 1986, he had 92 tackles, 15 tackles for losses and a team-leading 11 sacks. “Playing at Savannah State was fun because I dominated the league, as a linebacker and even ended up in the USA Today newspaper because I had about seven sacks in the first half against Morris Brown.”
Bobby, who tipped the scale at 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds during his playing days, gives a lot of credit to his success to his college position coach. “Joe Crosby was the Savannah State linebacker coach that helped me connect with the NFL. I want to thank him for all his support and encouragement. He had connection with the New York Jets The Jets came to Savannah State to look at me and signed me as a free agent. Shortly after joining the team I suffered a bad ankle sprain and was placed on injury reserve.”
It was at SSU where Bobby met his wife, Tess Powell Curtis. Tess, who earned a mechanical engineering technology degree from Savannah State, is a Savannah native. The Sol C. Johnson alumnae, who is also a ordained minister with a Master of Divinity degree, is the daughter of the late Willis and Betty Jean Powell. Tess will receive her second Master’s degree in May 2019.
Bobby and Tess have one daughter, Racquel, who graduated from SSU in 2011 with a criminal justice degree .
Bobby comes from an athletic family. In addition to his father playing at FVSU, his brothers also played football. “My brother Rodney played at Clemson and Georgia Southern. The youngest brother, Perryn played high school football at Bradwell Institute in Hinesville, Ga., attended SSC for one year and then enlisted in the Army. He has since retired from the military. Just like our father, we all played defense.”
These days Bobby and his family currently live in Leesburg, Virginia. “We have been in Virginia for a little over 25 years. I work at Dulles Airport, where I have been a manager for a freight company for over 20 years.”