Ex-basketball player has big dreams on football field

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OCEANSIDE, Calif. – Fatherless at the age of five and with a mother recently diagnosed with cancer, Robert Curtis left a paying job playing basketball to pursue a career in football.

“I didn’t want to live with a regret of something I wanted to do, especially now that I’m a young adult and I can make my own decisions,” Curtis said. “I’m responsible for my own decisions. I wanted to pursue my true dream.”

Robert Curtis football pix 7 15 13Curtis started to take steps towards his dream after a series of nightmarish events. The 23-year-old said his father, also named Robert, was shot and killed nearly 20 years ago. His mother, Starlea Hall, just received a diagnosis for brain cancer at the age of 45.

So Curtis knew he couldn’t wait any longer. He had to go grab his future with his own hands and he joined the North County Cobras semi-pro football team as a receiver and tight end.

“I feel like if I do what I have to do, good things will happen,” Curtis said. “I don’t feel any pressure at all. I feel like I`m happy. I’m completely happy, and I’m doing what I love to do.”

Curtis also loved to play basketball. At 6-feet, 10-inches, he has the perfect build.

The Capistrano Valley High School graduate played basketball at Saddleback College where he won a state championship in 2010. From there, he went to Wayland Baptist University where he led the team in scoring and rebounding in his only season.

In August 2012, Curtis became the first overall pick in the newly-formed National Basketball League of Canada.

After a brief stint there, and in China, Curtis felt a calling back to football, a sport he said he hadn’t played since his sophomore year in high school.Robert Curtis bball pix 7 15 13

“I’ve been feeling football,” Curtis said. “Football’s my first sport, and over the years going through high school my mom didn’t want me to play football because of the dangers.”

With his mother’s blessing, Curtis joined Cobras. Head coach Tony Vinson knew nothing of Curtis, or his abilities, but found that Curtis made a good addition to the team.

“I just don’t know how he stepped away from that (a paying job in basketball) to come to play football,” Vinson said. “I guess it takes a real man to be able to say, ‘I want to follow my dreams. I want to follow my heart, and I want to play football.'”

In his first game with the Cobras, Curtis caught a touchdown pass against the San Diego Riptide.

He commutes to Oceanside from his home in Pomona a couple times a week to practice and hopes his long path back to football eventually leads him further down the road.

“I’m really trying to pursue the NFL,” Curtis said. “Honestly, I believe right now I can play in the NFL. I feel like I would be a threat at the tight end, receiver position that I’m naturally a mismatch.”

In football, Curtis hopes he’s found his perfect match.

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