Two years ago, Wayne K. Curry, the first black to be elected Prince George's county executive, was still getting back to what he called "Wayne speed" after suffering a brain aneurysm.
The once-dominant figure in county politics needed a cane to maneuver around his house. He rehabilitated his foot muscles by picking up marbles with his toes and placing them in a bucket.
These days, the cane is gone. A barely noticeable limp remains. "I've been blessed," he said in an interview last week.
And so Curry (D) has returned to the role he has played since leaving office in 2002 after two terms: a figure seldom heard from but much discussed as a prospective candidate.
Last fall, he joined the Baltimore law firm of William H. Murphy Jr. & Associates. He said the move to connect with Murphy, a political force in Baltimore, had more to do with making money than reentering public life.
But while Curry remains mum about a political future, scuttlebutt persists that he will be on the short list of potential candidates for lieutenant governor.
"His name is out there, and I'd be interested in the Democrats taking a look at him," said state Sen. Ulysses Currie (D-Prince George's).
The Democrats will probably have some competition. If Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele (R) enters the U.S. Senate race, as all signals indicate, Curry's name will probably be mentioned as a possible running mate for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), a friend of Curry's.
Curry is amused by all the places his name has floated. "It's interesting, as quiet as I've been, to observe all the commotion," he said.
A fiscal conservative who was once wooed by the Republican Party, Curry has always loved politics. Still, he has maintained a love-hate relationship with the spotlight and all that comes with it.
Some say Curry is torn between the lure of public office and the desire to make money. He has indicated to some that he would like to become part of some land deals in the county.
"There's no question that Wayne misses" politics, said M.H. Jim Estepp, who worked closely with Curry as a member of the County Council during his two terms. "I know economics is an issue for Wayne, but as long as I've known him, politics has been in his blood. . . . It's just silly for him to be on the sidelines."
-- Ovetta Wiggins