Porter changing the game

Curt Porter decided to trade in one game for another, setting for himself a new career where he will offer a different kind of protection than that which he provided on the gridiron.

Porter, a former Jacksonville State offensive lineman and Marengo County’s newest game warden, saw his football talents take him as far as Denver, Colo., where he spent the 2011 training camp with the Broncos of the National Football League.

But, after getting cut, Porter, who signed as an undrafted free agent, faced a professional crossroads.

“A lot of times, if it is earlier enough, some other teams will pick you up. I knew also that, even after that season, teams will still call you. And it is something you’re still interested in,” Porter said. “I hung around and I stayed in shape. But I started applying for the game warden job again and had already taken the test.”

Porter got a taste of the dream most young football players share when he had his run with the Broncos. Still, Porter grew up with other goals in mind.

“We had a guy move to town and become the game warden back home in Fayette and he went to church with us,” Porter, who played at Fayette High School for retired head coach and Marengo County Sports Hall of Fame member Walden Tucker, said. “I got to know him and got to talk to him all the time and learn a lot about his job.”

When Porter arrived at Jacksonville State, he wasted little time figuring out what he wanted to do with his life after football.

“That criminal justice just fit me really well and I knew I liked (Fayette County game warden Ernie Stephens) did,” Porter said. “Being from a small town, growing up country and getting to spend all day in the woods and on the water just fit me really well.”

Porter left Colorado and, soon thereafter, walked away from football, choosing instead to pursue a career that would offer much more stability over a much greater span of time.

“With the Broncos, I was in the training room everyday. I just got to thinking that it wasn’t worth it. The money is nice, but you’re icing the lower part of your body everyday. And I still wanted that game warden job. So, I told my agent that I was done with football,” Warden said.

After doing odd jobs for nearly a year, Porter’s opportunity finally opened up. He accepted a game warden post and moved to Demopolis in July. With 12 weeks of police academy training ahead of him, the hard part is far from done for Porter, who will be among the most imposing game wardens anywhere at 6-7 and 290 pounds. Still, for a small town guy who likes the woods and the water, the fit is just right.

“When I got called for Denver, I was elated. But the average NFL career is something like two years,” Porter said. “When I got the call for the game warden, I was elated again. But it was more of a satisfied feeling. It was something that I knew would support me for a long time.”

Porter will be working alongside Joe Goddard, a game warden who transferred from Wilcox County to Marengo County Aug. 1.