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Rucker aims to get back on track

Mike Rucker

After recording a combined 31 sacks in his previous three seasons as a full-time starter, including a career-high 12 in 2003, Panthers defensive end Mike Rucker stumbled a bit last season fending off nagging injuries and an irregular heartbeat that sidelined him for parts of two games to finish with just 3.5 sacks.

"You can't tell me one athlete that hasn't had a slump, whether it be a hitting slump, a shooting slump or whatever," Rucker said. "It's just that last season wasn't the best year. But it gives me motivation to come back strong this year. I'm coming in this year looking at it as starting with a clean slate." It wasn't that Rucker was horrible season in 2004. He still had 23 quarterback...

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