Durham, NC – Mike Curtis, a member of the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 1981, passed away at his home in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Monday at the age of 77.
A three-year letterman (1962-63-64) for the Blue Devil football program under Hall of Fame head coach Bill Murray, Curtis twice earned First Team All-ACC honors in 1962 and 1964 and helped Duke to the league championship in 1962. As a senior in 1964, Curtis was a Third Team All-America selection and Duke’s Most Valuable Player after leading the Blue Devils in rushing yardage, rushing touchdowns and scoring. He also garnered Academic All-ACC accolades in 1963.
For his career, Curtis rushed 278 times for 1,034 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Curtis also was a member of Duke’s Track and Field program and captured the ACC championship in the javelin in 1963.
A native of Rockville, Md., Curtis was a first-round selection (No. 14 overall choice) by the Baltimore Colts in the 1965 NFL Draft. He was a two-time First Team All-Pro pick in 1968 and 1969 and earned selection to four NFL Pro Bowls in 1968, 1970, 1971 and 1974.
Curtis helped the Colts to a pair of Super Bowl appearances (Super Bowl III vs. Kansas City & Super Bowl V vs. Dallas). On January 17, 1971 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla., Curtis intercepted a Craig Morton pass and returned it 13 yards with 59 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to set up Jim O’Brien’s game-winning 32-yard field goal as the Colts defeated the Cowboys, 16-13, in Super Bowl V.
After playing 11 seasons (1965-75) with the Colts, Curtis closed his professional career with stints with the Seattle Seahawks (1976) and Washington Redskins (1977-78).
Curtis appeared in 166 games in the NFL, registering 25 interceptions including a career-high five in 1970. In addition, he was credited with nine fumble recoveries and scored three touchdowns on two interception returns and one fumble return.