But it all made sense Tuesday.
The team announced Rucker was one of three Cardinals who agreed to new contracts shortly after free agency kicked off Tuesday afternoon. And with Karlos Dansby chasing the money to Cleveland, Rucker now becomes the leader in the locker room. He’s a well-respected veteran, and even though he’s a back-up, Rucker leads by example as well as with his words.
“Some guys have gaudy numbers," Fitzgerald told ESPN.com earlier this month. "I know his numbers weren't crazy high. In terms of locker room guy, you can't ask for a better teammate. He busts his ass every day.
"He's not cliquey. He has a personality that meshes with everybody. You can't have enough glue guys in the locker room.”
Last season, Rucker had 14 tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss, nine quarterback pressures and eight quarterback hits. That earned Rucker, 30, a two-year contract worth up to $2.4 million with $600,000 guaranteed, according to a league source.
When Dansby returned to the Cardinals last offseason, he quickly became the elder statesman of the locker room, a role that’ll be inherited by the straight-shooting Rucker.