Promoting a dream

Posted by Darren Urban on December 23, 2010 – 10:50 am

In the end, it’s usually a single line of type in a newspaper, a note at the bottom of the story, a move few notice: A practice squad player getting elevated to the active roster. This time of year, it’s not uncommon although usually it makes little impact on the field.

But for the player who is promoted, this is his whole world. Linebacker Curtis Gatewood got that news this week, a promotion in part because Joey Porter’s injury means the probable need for an extra ‘backer against the Cowboys.

“It’s a rush, literally and figuratively,” Gatewood said. “Something I have been waiting for my whole career. To actually be on a roster says a lot and it is humbling to me. It’s exciting, so many emotions. Ultimately, that’s the goal, to be on a 53-man roster.”

It’s not like this is brand-new for Gatewood. As a rookie out of Vanderbilt, he appeared in six games for Kansas City in 2008. That was after spending time with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent. Post-Chiefs, Gatewood has spent time with the Lions, Eagles, Steelers, Redskins (where he was briefly on the 53-man roster, but inactive for all three games) and then the Cardinals – twice.

Sitting on the practice squad most of that time, Gatewood was anonymous, just like many practice-squad inhabitants. Some are a little more well-known, the rookies who stuck around after training camp and received some publicity. Guys like Gatewood, though, come in later and float well under the radar – both with the team and outside it.

“It’s a very tough role for a free-agent guy, an uphill battle,” Gatewood said. “But to be on a practice squad and for them to have confidence to bring you up, it means a lot in my world.”

In this case, it’s Gatewood’s own Christmas miracle. A chance to play Saturday on national TV against the Cowboys, and a big bump in pay, at least for a week – his salary jumped from $5,200 a week to about $23,000.

“My girlfriend did ask for an upgrade in her gift for Christmas,” Gatewood said with a smile. “I am assuming my Mom will be next.”

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Posted in Blog | 19 Comments »

19 Responses to “Promoting a dream”

  1. By carlo7000 on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    darren i hope this guy will show something and have a chance to be in the 53 the next year.motivatiion passion and humility ,these are the features that take you to the next step always

  2. By Rodgerscromartie17 on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Darren, is Andre Roberts really the better WR over Williams? I was expecting Williams to come in at No. 3 if anybody ended up going out but I was suprised to see that Andre beat him to it

  3. By Darren Urban on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    Rodgerscromartie —

    RE: Roberts

    Yes, clearly. That’s why Roberts is playing, and Stephen isn’t.

  4. By David Groff on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    I really hope the best for Curtis Gatewood and I hope that he can do something good for us this week against the Cowboys.

    Darren, thanks for keeping us all updated on everything going on with the team, I look on here atleast 5 times a week to see whats happening with the team, thanks for all your hard work and have a wonderful Christmas. God Bless!

  5. By joe again on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    The way this season has gone so far, these next two games are our playoffs — first the (hated) Cowboys on Christmas day, and then those (stinkin) 9’ers who might just be playing us for their division title hopes.

    Maybe I’m just dreaming, but I’ve got a good feeling about this Cowboys game. What a huge upset that would be if our Redbirds could pull that one out.

    For anyone who thinks these next two games only count for draft picks, forget it. Our Cards are gonna fight to the end.

  6. By Donna Bennett on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    Now get in there and kick some butt. We need to beat the Cowgirls. I will be sitting in a living room with my family who happen to be Cowboy fans and I want you to show them how it’s played. Welcome to the field. Good luck and Merry Christmas.

  7. By Nathan on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply


    This is kind of off topic, but with all the comments lately about “we have to keep Larry happy…” this story just got me thinking about player motivation and whether it really matters if we “keep Larry happy”. Really, does any NFL team build around a wide reciever? A truly great WR doesn’t come around that often, but teams have great success with good WR as well, or, in some cases, WR no one has even heard of (think Indy and the Pats). Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson are great WR, but their teams aren’t going to the playoffs either.

    I personally think Larry Fitzgerald is a great WR, a class guy all around, and I’d love to see him retire a Cardinal, but given all the needs we have on both sides of the ball, I’m just questioning whether worrying about making any one player, unless it is a great QB, happy makes sense. Great QB’s can make good WR better, and really the whole team better, but I think we’ve seen this year that the reverse isn’t true.

    I really think our goal should be to find our future great QB and shore up the defense. If we do that, I think we’ll have more success in the long run. Sorry, just thinking out loud.

  8. By Bob C on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    Well said Joe. I wish the players knew how important a win against Dallas is to us die-hard fans. I am sick so I can’t go the the “Dallas” game. Here’s hoping we can drown out the front runner Cowboy fans!! I do remember the Dallas home games at Sun Devil.

  9. By tRiGiDy22 on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    Having Andre playing Over Williams is a joke!

    Whiz just don’t want Fans to see his Drafting Skills! LOL

    Andre roberts is a joke! only plays cause we traded Calvin Away! The one Whiz said we Drafted to return Punts???

    PS Calvin is doing great in Philly! an has been returning kicks all year for the Eagles?? But we needed Scott at fullback,an cut him the Next Week

  10. By CardiacCard on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    Cardinals Should Draft a QB in the first round and sign a veteran Free agent QB and keep Skelton. Just keep bringing guys in here until you find the ones you really like.

  11. By darrel on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    That’s their best option I think

  12. By CardiacCard on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    A great Qb and a great WR is better than a Great QB and an alright WR!

  13. By Chuck 1 on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    When I read about Gatewood, I’m reminded of the Samoan, Fijian, Tongan (oh, WTH, I can’t remember where he came from) who was a workout fiend during OTAs and Training Camp. He worked out in the weight room, I believe, with Porter. I think that he was a FB.
    What drive that guy had.
    It’s too bad that nice hardworking guys like that don’t make the team.

  14. By Rodgerscromartie17 on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    So he isnt playing because of Williams injurys?

  15. By Darren Urban on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    Rodgerscromartie —

    RE: Injuries

    What are you talking about?

  16. By AndyStandsUp on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply

    ThOgh I agReE wIth TRiGiDy AbOut RObErTs, JoRRiCk CaLvin iS a KiCk returNer Not a PunT RetEurner.

    Have a safe holiday everyone.

  17. By Chuck 1 on Dec 23, 2010 | Reply


    Who was the guy that I wrote about above?

    Thanks for all you do for keeping us informed and patiently (for the most part) .
    responding to us.

    Have a Merry Christmas.

  18. By Darren Urban on Dec 24, 2010 | Reply

    Chuck 1 —

    RE: Workout guy

    Are you thinking of Dean Mutahdi?

  19. By Chuck 1 on Dec 25, 2010 | Reply

    Yes. The Iron Sheik is the guy. Thanks for providing the link.

    Gatewood and the Iron Sheik are great stories. Too bad that ALL professional athletes don’t appreciate what they have.

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