It was also a tough day to be Mike Rucker.
During his retirement press conference he briefly explained why he had to hang up the pads saying, “The tank is empty … it’s empty.”
“There’s nothing like going to battle with your comrades,” Rucker told at least 25 current and former players gathered in the team meeting room, including quarterback Jake Delhomme. “That’s one of the biggest things I’ll miss. I love you dudes. I’d do it all over again. I want you to know I gave it all I had. I laid it on the line for you.”
Rucker said it was difficult to bid farewell to football after nine NFL seasons, but he said he’s also joyful. In remembering a telephone conversation earlier today with his brother Martin, a Missouri tight end expected to be a mid-round pick in this weekend’s draft, he talked of how exciting it is when you’re reading a good book to turn the page to the next chapter.
What is the next chapter in Mike Rucker’s life? What will we see or hear from him next? Consider that one of his friends, Mike Minter, is a quality person. Rucker was eloquent and gracious. He thanked everybody in the organization and made personal statements to each of them.
Rucker was a great player for the Panthers, playing his entire career in Carolina. It would appear to me that he is a great person who deserves our respect as well.