As locker room leader, Frostee Rucker makes it his responsibility to mentor
As an 10 year NFL vet entering his fifth season with the Cardinals, Frostee Rucker isn’t known for the stats he’s produced on the field.
The defensive lineman has recorded just nine sacks as a Cardinal and 20 for his career, but his value is much more than just what he brings to the field.
Rucker has emerged as a leader in the locker room, which may be more important now more than ever with the departure of Calais Campbell to Jacksonville.
“I think leadership often times is just your personality,” Rucker told Doug and Wolf Thursday on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station. “It sounds cliche, but you don’t always have to be the rah rah, I need to give a speech, I need to do this, sometimes you do, sometimes you need to step up and say something, but often times its just how you lead by example.”
Rucker leads by example for the young players, a responsibility he has taken upon himself to do.
“I would feel less of me to be able to sit here and say that, being in the position that I’m in, being able to have been through the fire so many times,” Rucker said. “Good teams, bad teams, all of the experience and knowledge and not give it back.”
He shows guys like second year pro Robert Nkemdiche how to work both on and off the field.
Nkemdiche was the Cardinals first round pick in 2016, but due to injuries, he missed most of last season’s training camp, not making an impact in the five game he played in.
“Showing him (Nkemdiche) how it’s done,” Rucker said. “Not just on the field, it’s about the classroom, it’s about studying, it’s about what you’re looking at when your studying.”
The 33-year-old Rucker is able to confront his teammates in the locker room without worrying about being liked as long as he’s holding everyone accountable.
He’s comfortable with his leadership role, Rucker holds himself to the same standard he holds everyone else to.
“I just try to be myself and what comes with that they call a leader and what not, and I’ll take it,” Rucker said. “But I’m continually trying to get better myself, and to me, to define leadership is to be accountable and I feel like I’m here on time, or before.
“You don’t have to worry about me not being around or not doing the extra bit.”