Aaron Curry, Vernon Davis renew rivalry

San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis and Seattle Seahawks linebacker Aaron Curry go back five years.

Davis was finishing his career at Maryland when Curry was a freshman at Wake Forest. Davis caught two passes for 28 yards during Maryland's 22-12 victory against Wake Forest on Sept. 24, 2005 (Terps cornerback Josh Wilson, recently traded from Seattle to Baltimore, scored a decisive touchdown in that game).

Davis was the sixth player chosen in the 2006 draft. Curry was the fourth player chosen in 2009. Davis became a first-team Pro Bowl tight end last season after enduring criticism early in his NFL career. Curry is looking to overcome a disappointing rookie season. Davis has shown the way.

"He is the same athlete, but he is a smarter player," Curry said of Davis from the Seahawks' locker room Wednesday. "He is a better football player now. You can tell he knows what is really going on. He knows how to get open. He knows what is going to be open. He does a much better job at blocking. He is becoming an overall top tight end."

Curry's role within the Seahawks' defense and his ability to execute that role could be important against Davis and the 49ers in Week 1. Curry lines up on the strong side (over the tight end) during early downs. He rushes on passing downs. How well Curry holds up against Davis in the running game could influence down and distance, which largely define terms for rushing the passer.

The Seahawks held the 49ers to 53 yards rushing on 12 carries when Seattle beat San Francisco at Qwest Field last season. Davis finished with six receptions for 111 yards. He had receptions for 42, 33 and 17 yards. Curry wasn't always responsible for coverage.

"Last year, we had a lot of battles back and forth, in the run and in the pass," Curry said.

They figure to have many more Sunday, and beyond.