BEREA — Rookie tight end Martin Rucker is waiting and hoping.
With Kellen Winslow suspended for Sunday’s game in Jacksonville, Rucker moves up to third on the depth chart. While that’s better than fourth, he still doesn’t know if he’ll be active Sunday.
“It’s difficult not knowing whether you’re going to dress. And if you dress, you don’t know if you’re going to play,” he said Friday. “I definitely feel way more prepared this week than I have in weeks past. If my number’s called, I’ll be ready.”
Rucker was a fourth-round pick out of Missouri, but his preseason was cut short by arthroscopic knee surgery to remove loose cartilage. He’s been practicing for a few weeks, and coach Romeo Crennel said he’s made progress.
“We will see if there is a spot where he can help us,” Crennel said of the Jaguars game.
Rucker said he’s close to making up for the practice time lost to the injury and spends extra time watching film and studying the playbook at home. Standing on the sideline has been a difficult adjustment for the All-American.
“You always want to be out there playing, that’s why we play this game,” he said. “Anytime you’re sidelined and have to watch everybody, it hurts. But you just got to do it.”
Rucker (6-foot-4, 260 pounds) is a tall, athletic tight end who excels as a receiver. He would be the third option behind veterans Steve Heiden and Darnell Dinkins.
“The knee feels good out there at practice,” Rucker said. “I’m cutting and everything’s going well.”
Jones a go
Matt Jones, the Jaguars’ leading receiver, will play Sunday as he waits for his appeal of a drug suspension to be heard.
In his first comments on the pending suspension, Jones said Thursday the NFL hasn’t set a date for his appeal so he’ll keep playing “until they say I can’t.”
Jones was arrested and charged with one count of cocaine possession on July 10, when a Fayetteville (Ark.) police officer saw him inside a parked car allegedly cutting up cocaine with a credit card. Jones pleaded not guilty and the prosecutor’s office reached an agreement with Jones’ attorney to send the case to drug court.
Jones has 30 catches for 338 yards and a touchdown.
Defensive end Corey Williams (shoulder) returned to practice in a limited role and was listed as questionable. He said he expects to play.
“That’s my plan,” he said.
* Right tackle Ryan Tucker (knee) and special teamer Shantee Orr (foot) haven’t practiced this week and are doubtful.
* Safety Mike Adams (hamstring) hasn’t practiced but was listed as questionable.
* Tight end Steve Heiden was a full participant in practice and is probable.
Peek pays a visit
Linebacker Antwan Peek visited the locker room Friday. He’s out for the year after tearing a patellar tendon in practice.
Peek was on crutches but said his recovery is ahead of schedule. He’s doing his rehabilitation at the Browns facility to show the team his commitment.
“I want to come back next year and perform,” he said.
Peek was injured during a kickoff drill as he tried to shed a block. He had the surgery at the Cleveland Clinic.
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.