Former Wildcat signs with Pittsburgh Steelers

Ray Bressette

With a stroke of his pen, former Wildcat Marcus Tucker traded in NMU green and yellow for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ black and gold, signing a contract to the NFL squad’s 90-man roster in May, just weeks after earning his criminal justice degree from Northern.

In three seasons with the Wildcats, the former wide receiver played in 32 games, hauling in 2,330 yards and 20 touchdowns, becoming his team’s top threat on offense.Contributing writer Ray Bressette caught up with Tucker from the Steelers’ OTAs on his first experiences in the NFL.

How did you find out the Steelers were interested in signing you?

I got a call from my agent who told me that I was going to get a call from the Pittsburgh Steelers organization about an opportunity to come try out for the team at the rookie minicamp. When I got to rookie camp, I made a big play that lead to [Pittsburgh head coach] Mike Tomlin giving me the opportunity to make the team.

What was going through your mind when you found out you were about to receive the call?
When I found out I was staying, with a shot at making the team, it was an indescribable feeling. I thought about all of the hard work, long nights and workouts I’ve put in just to be here, and it brought silent tears of joy down my face.

How has your experience been in Pittsburgh your first few weeks with the team?

This experience has been great. The team is pretty close knit and the guys hold one another accountable on the football field. We interact with each other almost daily now that OTAs have begun. The environment here is one that breeds success. I’m getting my feet wet so I will build more relationships with my teammates with time.

NMU has produced a few players who have gone on to sign with NFL

and other professional football teams after graduation. What does this say about the football program at NMU?

We have a couple of guys who did some good things making rookie camps and playing in the NFL lately. It just shows that [NMU head coach] Chris Ostrowsky is masterful in recruiting the right kind of kids. It doesn’t matter where you come from, it’s the character that counts. I’m from Flint, and teammates were from Detroit, Wisconsin and the U.P. and what we all had in common was character. We have our degrees and can step into our professions. Those are the kind of young men that will help transcend the program, doing it the Wildcat way.

The Steelers organization is known for being stacked at the wide receiver position, as well as their receiver development.

What do you think it will take for you to earn a spot on the team when the season starts?

Walking into the Steelers receivers room is a challenge. You must be highly conditioned and ready to learn. I believe the talent level in that room is one of the best as far as the wide receiver position goes in the NFL. I’m just honored to watch guys like Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Sammie Coates on a day-to-day basis.

Is there anything else you would like to say to the NMU community?

I’d love to give a special thanks to the entire community of Marquette for supporting NMU football and our entire athletic department. Marquette is a special place to be. Thank you to all my professors, and I will forever be a Wildcat.
Go ’Cats go!