Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Updated: August 31, 10:07 PM ET
Bengals' Rucker will miss team's season opener against Ravens
By Len Pasquarelli
Barring a successful appeal, Cincinnati Bengals second-year defensive end Frostee Rucker will miss the team's Sept. 10 season opener against the Baltimore Ravens because of a one-game suspension imposed by the league.
League sources confirmed the pending suspension and Rucker's appeal, which were first reported on Wednesday by Fox Sports.
Citing confidentiality guidelines, NFL and team spokesmen declined to comment.
A third-round draft choice in 2006, Rucker missed his entire rookie season, spending it on injured reserve with a shoulder problem that developed in training camp. He is projected as a part of the Bengals' defensive end rotation for 2007.
Rucker, 23, pleaded guilty in May to false imprisonment and vandalism charges that trace to an August, 2005 incident involving an ex-girlfriend. He was charged in the case in June, 2006. As part of a plea agreement, the prosecutors dropped a charge of spousal battery and Rucker was sentenced to three years of probation.
The former Southern California standout is currently rehabilitating a strained hamstring, the injury having occurred in Monday night's preseason loss at Atlanta. Rucker has appeared in two of the Bengals' three preseason games to date and could miss the Friday preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts.
He has one tackle and one quarterback pressure.
As the 91st player chosen overall in 2006, Rucker signed a four-year, $2.23 million contract which included a $620,000 signing bonus. The suspension would cost Rucker $21,176 of his scheduled 2007 minimum base salary of $360,000.
Rucker would become the third Cincinnati player suspended for at least the outset of the '07 season. Middle linebacker Odell Thurman will miss a second straight entire season after his application for reinstatement was rejected by commissioner Roger Goodell last month. Wide receiver Chris Henry was suspended by Goodell for the first eight games of the year.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.