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Old 05-07-2008, 10:12 AM   #1
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Default Rucker gets taste of NFL at Steelers camp

Rucker gets taste of NFL at Steelers camp
Naple News
By SCOTT HOTARD
Monday, May 5, 2008

Micah Rucker got his first taste of the NFL last week, spending four days in Pittsburgh for a Steelers minicamp.

He caught passes from Ben Roethlisberger. Had dinner with Dan Rooney. Took pointers from Hines Ward.

“Just sitting there,” Rucker said Monday, after returning home to Bonita Springs, “it doesn’t seem real. It was really an experience.”

Rucker, a 6-foot-6, 220-pound wide receiver, learned a lot, some of it the hard way.

On his second day of practice with the Steelers, who signed the undrafted Estero High product early last week, Rucker stuck his receivers gloves in his helmet and put his headgear on the ground, where it lay too long for a veteran’s liking.

When he went to retrieve his helmet, Rucker says someone had picked it up and hidden it from him.

Welcome to the big leagues, rook.

“I’m looking for a helmet to put on,” Rucker recalled. “Everybody’s just looking at me and laughing.”

No wonder Rucker’s head was spinning. The four days in Pittsburgh were a whirlwind, an acclimation period for young newcomers.

Rucker was handed a mountainous playbook and asked to learn it. He was bounced from one team meeting to the next.

When he wasn’t helping keep the Steelers’ fridge stocked with Gatorade and water — a rookie chore — Rucker, a long shot to make the team, was doing his best to fit in.

“I tell you,” he said, “it was something else. It was very tough mentally — trying to get acquainted to everything going on. The key is just learning the plays and really just learning to feel comfortable and playing faster than I ever have.”

Only six months ago, Rucker was wrapping up his career at Eastern Illinois University, a Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) school. He caught 104 passes for 1,743 yards in two seasons after transferring from the University of Minnesota.

It wasn’t enough to get drafted, but Rucker — like Lely High product Steve Octavien, who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs — struck a free-agent deal in short order.

Rucker figures to get a hard look from the Steelers, who are hungry for big receivers.

First, he must get acclimated.

The minicamp hit Rucker like a cold Gatorade shower, introducing him to some of the Steel City’s brightest stars.

He found himself talking shop with Ward, the MVP of Super Bowl XL.

He sat at a dinner table with Rooney, the Steelers owner.

He ran curl routes that directed him to balls thrown by Roethlisberger, the franchise quarterback.

“He’s got a golden arm,” Rucker gushed, “the way he puts it in there.”

Rucker will rejoin the Steelers later this month for organized team activities. The orientation behind him, he figures to feel more at home.

He’ll know his way around the complex. He’ll have a better understanding of the playbook. He’ll have the confidence to ask more questions in team meetings.

And yes, he’ll keep his helmet on.

“I’m keeping that thing on tight,” Rucker said with a laugh. “Tight.”


http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2008/...ca/?printer=1/
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Old 05-07-2008, 10:56 AM   #2
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Default Re: Rucker gets taste of NFL at Steelers camp

6-foot-6, 220!!! Wow I hope this kid can play. What is his 40 time? If he is sub 4.4 he is a decent tall threat to go deap ala R. Moss. But I guess if he was sub 4.4 he would have been drafted based on shear size and speed. I guess we will see.

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Old 05-07-2008, 11:03 AM   #3
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Default Re: Rucker gets taste of NFL at Steelers camp

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Originally Posted by Hammer Of The GODS View Post
6-foot-6, 220!!! Wow I hope this kid can play. What is his 40 time? If he is sub 4.4 he is a decent tall threat to go deap ala R. Moss. But I guess if he was sub 4.4 he would have been drafted based on shear size and speed. I guess we will see.

GO BURGH!

PENS vs. FLYERS GAME 1 FRIDAY!
HERE'S TO A STANLEY CUP AND A LOMBARDI TROPHY IN 08'-09'
im with you on the lombardi but i have to admit i am a die hard flyers fan i hope you guys are not to hard on me for that
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:11 AM   #4
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Default Re: Rucker gets taste of NFL at Steelers camp

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Originally Posted by Hammer Of The GODS View Post
6-foot-6, 220!!! Wow I hope this kid can play. What is his 40 time? If he is sub 4.4 he is a decent tall threat to go deap ala R. Moss. But I guess if he was sub 4.4 he would have been drafted based on shear size and speed. I guess we will see.

GO BURGH!

PENS vs. FLYERS GAME 1 FRIDAY!
HERE'S TO A STANLEY CUP AND A LOMBARDI TROPHY IN 08'-09'
Ran a 4.52
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:13 AM   #5
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Default Re: Rucker gets taste of NFL at Steelers camp

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im with you on the lombardi but i have to admit i am a die hard flyers fan i hope you guys are not to hard on me for that
you're dead to me

jk

Rucker seems like a great, hopefully the steelers found their next great udfa. 6-6! ben must be so happy
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Old 05-07-2008, 12:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rucker gets taste of NFL at Steelers camp

Speed is nice, but it is not everything... Hines Ward did not and still does not have 4.4 speed. Alot of this speed thing is overrated, I will take a man with 4.60 speed and a huge heart and you can have your burner that cant catch a cold!!
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Old 05-07-2008, 12:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: Rucker gets taste of NFL at Steelers camp

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im with you on the lombardi but i have to admit i am a die hard flyers fan i hope you guys are not to hard on me for that
My brothers one you types. Die-hard Steelers fan but somehow ended up on the wrong side of the tracks for hockey. I called him Sunday, and basically told him I we wouldn't talk until the series is over (go figure hockey fans) and he agreed (as we both laughed).

And since we don't have the smiley to put up here you'll have to imagine the following:

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Old 05-07-2008, 01:19 PM   #8
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Default Re: Rucker gets taste of NFL at Steelers camp

wait so did we sign this guy?
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Old 05-07-2008, 01:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: Rucker gets taste of NFL at Steelers camp

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wait so did we sign this guy?
He is one of UDFA..signed the day after the draft. Played two years at Minnesota then transferrred to Eastern Illinois.
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Old 05-07-2008, 01:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: Rucker gets taste of NFL at Steelers camp

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Speed is nice, but it is not everything... Hines Ward did not and still does not have 4.4 speed. Alot of this speed thing is overrated, I will take a man with 4.60 speed and a huge heart and you can have your burner that cant catch a cold!!
I think we all like the possibility of Sweed in one corner of the endzone and Rucker in the other...

I hope he pans out..at least to the practice squad.
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