This TE willing to do it all

You may not think that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need a tight end — until you realize that two of their TEs are free agents this offseason and a third can become one in 2009.'s Ed Thompson talked to this All-Big 12 TE at the Senior Bowl and found out that one of the teams interested in him are the Bucs. Read more in this premium feature.

Ed Thompson:  How's the Senior Bowl process been going for you?

Martin Rucker:  Really well.  It's been a lot of fun.  A lot of people are waiting it see me put my hand on the ground and block some people, and I think I've turned some heads this week.

Thompson:  What do you feel that you're doing better that shows everyone that you have that skill?

Rucker:  I'm doing it. (laughs) A lot of people didn't think I could do it, just because we hadn't been put in that position, but that wasn't the case.  We just weren't called upon to do that and, myself and Chase Coffman, we can put our hand on the ground and get dirty.

Thompson:  What are your best attributes heading into the pro level?

Rucker:  I think running after the catch and my receiving skills.  But that only lasts for a little while and I think my blocking skills will be up to par then.

Thompson:  What are you doing right now to get ready for the Combine?

Rucker:  I'm working out at API in Phoenix and I'm working with an offensive line coach there five days a week, so I'm trying to get ready

Thompson:  You're going to be going through a lot of interviews, and I'm sure you've gone through a lot already here in Mobile. Are you comfortable doing interviews? And what do you want to be sure that coaches and scouts understand about you?

Martin Rucker fends off Texas Tech linebacker Marlon Williams.
AP Photo/L.G. Patterson

Rucker:  I'm very comfortable doing it. I think it's a lot of fun.  It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience that a lot of people don't get to do, so you have to take it for what it's worth and enjoy it while you're here.  I want everybody to know that just because I haven't had my hand on the ground doesn't mean I'm not able, nor not willing. I just haven't been relied upon to do it.  So I haven't, but I'm more than capable of doing it and I'm hoping to silence a lot of critics this week.

Thompson:  Who are some of the teams who are showing interest in you as a player?

Rucker:  I've talked to a lot of teams, and I don't know if everyone's into the market for a tight end. But I think the Jets are. I think the Falcons are — somewhere in the draft — and I think the Buccaneers might be as well.  I'm not sure about all of those, but I got pretty good vibes from them that they are looking for a tight end.

Thompson:  The Colts have three tight ends who are free agents, one unrestricted and two restricted. Have you had any contact with them and can you see yourself catching passes from a quarterback like Peyton Manning soon?

Rucker:  Definitely. I'd love to.  I did speak with them yesterday and just did the basic stuff.  They said they'd get me in with their team psychologist this week or at the Combine, so I'm looking forward to it.

Thompson:  Anything you'd like to say to the Missouri fans who'll be watching yhou this Saturday?

Rucker:  Sup Tiger Nation, southside St. Joe..

Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the network and are syndicated through You can contact him by email through this link.

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