2003 Estero High grad Micah Rucker talks about the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he signed last spring and played on the practice squad until September, and the Steelers give their opinions on Micah Rucker
"I've seen a bunch of them the past last couple days," Rucker said on Friday in Tampa, naming wide receiver Nate Washington, cornerbacks Ike Taylor and William Gay and safety Anthony Smith, among others. "It's crazy. But this is what they worked for all year, and everyone's pretty calm about it. These guys are ready to go."
"My situation is I just have to keep working. I just got my training schedule (from the Giants). I know I need to improve my speed. With the Steelers wasn't the best situation for me because they drafted wide receiver (Limas Sweed) with a similar size/style to me in the second round."
"That's the mentality (in Pittsburgh)," Rucker said. "They work incredibly hard ... Everybody wants to go to the Super Bowl, but some teams really prepare emotionally and mentally (like the Steelers and the Giants)."
Steelers wide receivers coach Randy Fichtner followed Rucker's college career at Eastern Illinois. After Rucker's senior season in 2007, Fichtner picked up the phone to ask an old friend about the 2003 Estero grad.
"(Eastern Illinois coach) Bob Spoo said nothing but unbelievable things about Micah," Fichtner said, adding that Spoo's opinion meant a lot. "My dad was a teammate of (Spoo's) at Purdue, and I have great respect for (Spoo's) opinion."
"I saw him as a unique developmental player, and I see others think that as well," said Fichtner, citing Rucker's pick-up by the Giants. "I'd love to coach Micah again ... this is a business, and sometimes you aren't able to keep everyone you want to keep ... I thought he might have a good opportunity with someone else, but I still have his cell number."
Steelers wide receiver Marvin Allen played with Rucker on the practice squad.
"We ran many routes together," Allen said, laughing. "We were in the same boat, on the practice squad, but we had a different style. I am power and quickness, and he was just a beast to the defensive backs. Wide receivers have a reputation of being soft, but Micah wasn't like that. He's very physical and strong for a wide receiver."
Well, that's it for the pre-Sunday Super Bowl blogs from Tampa. Looking forward to what happens tomorrow at the game, and I'll have blogs starting early tomorrow afternoon ... what a week ...