Cleveland Browns defensive end
An injury kept Rucker out for much of training camp, but the veteran end was back on the field and in full pads Sunday afternoon with the rest of his teammates.
“It was good,” Rucker said of Sunday. “Camp injuries happen, stuff happens, but you’ve got to fight your way back and that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m happy to be back and a part of the team. I’ll be ready to go and hopefully, I get some snaps this week.”
Much like middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, Rucker found himself in the role of mentor during his time on the sidelines.
“It’s just about having leadership skills and being there for the young guys that have a lot of questions and that’s all I could do as much as possible,” Rucker said. “I couldn’t be out there playing, but I can be around the guys, helping with their questions and whatnot. I’m just glad to be back to being in the huddle.”
When he worked on the defensive line Sunday, Rucker lined up with several younger players, including rookie tackles
Rubin came into camp at less than 100 percent, while Paxson suffered an injury in the team’s 19-17 win over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Aug. 10.
“They’re ballplayers and that’s why they drafted them,” Rucker said of Winn and Hughes. “I think the organization did a great job of bringing in a whole lot of guys. Everyone’s competing and everyone wants a spot. When you have a hungry team like that, it shows on game day. These last two weeks have really opened my eyes a lot, as well as the coaches’. There’s going to be some tough decisions and those young guys have really battled and they’re earning their way.”
Now healthy and near 100 percent, Rucker is looking forward to playing next to Hughes, Winn, Rubin and opposite second-year left end,
“I’m not playing for statistics and whatnot; I’m just playing good defense and whenever they tell me I’m out there, I’m out there and I make due,” Rucker said. “Last year, I was in a rotation in Cincinnati and whenever you have a chance to be on the field, you have to make the most of it. As much as they want me out there, I’ll be out there and the more times I get to play, the more the statistics will go up.”