This year’s Super Bowl will be played Sunday, Feb. 2, between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams in Atlanta. Super Bowl rings are high honors for pro-football players, no matter when they are received.
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 Hinesville resident Robert “Bobby” Curtis.
“The moment I was told that I would receive a Super Bowl ring, I was unable to articulate my feelings,” Curtis said. “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 just feel happy. You feel appreciated and not just forgotten for all your hard work. 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.”
He admitted to feeling bittersweet emotions, too.
“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. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2012 from lung cancer. I would have loved to have him enjoy this moment with me.”
Bobby is the son of Sarah Curtis and the late Robert Curtis. Both of his parents graduated from Fort Valley State University. His mom was the Wildcats Homecoming queen while his dad was a star on the football field. While living in Hinesville, his mom was a local educator and his dad was a State Farm Insurance Agent.
After graduating from Jones County High School in middle Georgia, Bobby attended Jacksonville State University for a while.
“I left Jacksonville State University because things just did not work out for me there. So, I left and went to Savannah State University because my parents had moved to Hinesville.”
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 connections with the New York Jets because he also played professional football and knew one of the Jets' coaches. The Jets came to Savannah State to look at me and signed me as a free agent. Shortly after joining the team and playing a few games, I was injured during a game against the New York Giants. I had suffered a bad ankle sprain and was placed on injury reserve."
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 Dorset, when we played with the Dallas Cowboys. It was a Monday night game.”
Bobby’s football playing days continued after the 1987 season. “I went on to play Canadian football with the Ottawa Rough Riders and in the World League with the Ohio Glory. I was a starting outside linebacker for the Ohio Glory, where we used the Ohio State University facility. My professional football days ended when I tore a ligament in my right knee, playing for the Ohio Glory."
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. He suffered a knee injury at Georgia Southern and had major reconstructed surgery that ended his playing days. The youngest brother, Perryn, played high school football at Bradwell Institute, attended Savannah State for one year and then enlisted in the Army. He has since retired from the military. Just like our father, we all played defense.”
It was at SSU where Bobby met his wife, the former Tess Powell, who earned a mechanical engineering technology degree from Savannah State. Bobby and Tess have one daughter, Racquel, who graduated from SSU in 2011 with a criminal justice degree. Bobby also has a step-son, Onterio Powell-Miller, who lives in Atlanta.
These days Bobby and his family currently live in Leesburg, Va. “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.”