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Mike Rucker
Mike Rucker.jpg
Mike Rucker during his tenure with the Panthers.
Defensive Tackle
Jersey #(s)
Born February 28, 1975 (1975-02-28) (age 35)
St. Joseph, Missouri
Career information
Year(s) 19992007
NFL Draft 1999 / Round: 2 / Pick: 38
College Nebraska
Professional teams
Career stats
Tackles 421
Sacks 55.5
Interceptions 1
Stats at
Career highlights and awards

Michael Dean Rucker (born February 28, 1975 in St. Joseph, Missouri) is a former American football defensive end who played for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League.


Early years

Rucker played both sides of the ball in high school, registering 168 tackles as a senior, while catching 15 passes for 300 yards as a wide receiver. He was a two-time all-state lineman, and made the All-America team his senior year. In addition, he also lettered in track & field four years, and was a state champion shot putter. He also earned three letters on the Benton High School basketball team.

College career

Rucker played college football at the University of Nebraska. He redshirted as a true freshman, and then collected his first sack the following season. He was part of the national champion Cornhuskers in 1995 and 1997. As a senior in 1998, he made second-team All-Big 12, despite missing much of the season because of injury. He finished his college days as Nebraska's fourth all-time tackler behind the line of scrimmage, with 40 stops.

Professional career

Rucker was drafted by Carolina in the second round (38th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft. He collected three sacks his rookie year, playing in all 16 games. His first sack came against Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jeff Blake. He registered 2.5 sacks in his second season, and became a starter for the 2001 NFL season. He ended the season leading the team with 9 sacks. He was the NFL Defensive Player of the Month for September 2003, when he had 5 sacks, 21 tackles, 13 hurries and one batted pass during the first four games of the 2003 NFL season. He and fellow defensive end Julius Peppers were the only duo to register 10 sacks each, and it was here that Rucker, Peppers, Brentson Buckner, and Kris Jenkins became known as the best defensive front four in the NFL. The following year, Rucker again won Defensive Player of the Month for September, becoming only the 11th player in history to win POTM honors for the same month in two consecutive years; former Panther Sam Mills won POTM in November 1995 and 1996. Rucker finished the season with 12 sacks, and earned his first berth in the Pro Bowl. Rucker was one of the few Panthers to avoid the injury bug in the 2004 NFL season, as he started all 16 games for the team. He added to his career sack totals with 3.5 sacks. As of the 2005 season, he has 7.5 sacks, and has overtaken Kevin Greene as the team's all-time sack leader; he has 47.5 going into the final week of the regular season.

On December 17, 2006, in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Rucker suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear in his left knee, causing him to miss the remainder of the 2006 season.[1] He returned for his final season in 2007, before announcing his retirement from the game on April 22, 2008.

Other activities

Rucker, along with former teammates Mike Minter, Stephen Davis, and Muhsin Muhammad, are co-founders of Ruckus House, a child development and learning facility. One of Rucker's long-term goals for Ruckus House is to get one in every city which has an NFL team.

In 2005 Mike founded Vision Group Realty, a full service real estate brokerage firm, providing brokerage services to both buyers and sellers of residential and commercial real estate. The firm headquarters is located in Charlotte, NC, and services relocating clients locally, nationally and globally.

In the 2008 offseason, he traveled to Afghanistan to visit with troops along with Luis Castillo, Tommie Harris, and Sports Illustrated writer Peter King. Rucker made a video documentary of his experiences for NFL Network, stating that if he was not a pro football athlete, he could easily envision himself in the military.

Mike Rucker will be commentating 3 2009 preseason games for the Carolina Panthers.[2]


Rucker's younger brother, Martin (aka "T"), recently completed his senior season at the University of Missouri and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2008 NFL Draft, 111th overall.


External links

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