The chances of Panthers DE Mike Rucker returning to the Panthers locker room just got better. When asked whether he would accept something less than a starters role Rucker replied:
"I'm a team player," he said. "At the end of the day, I want a Super Bowl ring and that's it. And I love this community. Whatever happens, this is home."
It gets better. When asked to elaborate on why he would return for another season:
"I felt like I finished strong," he said. "Watching the Giants win the Super Bowl reminded me of how close we came to winning (in 2004). I still think we can do that. And I feel like I can contribute."
Rucker is a lead-by-example type of leader but his serious knee injury in 2006 sidelined his ability to inspire his teammates. It wasn’t until the middle of last season that he began to get comfortable.
"The longer I went, the more confident I was that the knee was stable," he said.
I hope the Panthers do resign Mike Rucker regardless of his role. This team needs as many leaders as it can get. The 2008 season could be a ‘pass the torch’ kind of season for Rucker, similar to what Sam Mills did a few years back. He can provide much needed guidance to the young DE’s Stanley McClover and Charles Johnson.
You have to love his attitude:
He had all three of his sacks in the second half of the season. "We had goals at the beginning of the year that didn't work out, and I didn't want to quit like that," he said.
Nothing wrong with being goal-oriented. Maybe we can start a slogan for the 2008 season that will fire up the fan base and motivate the players to win it all baby!
"Win one for the Rucker!" or
"Give a _uck for the Ruck!" (You fill the blank)
"We will Ruck you!"
You got one better let’s hear it.