By Jennifer Williams
In early October, Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker stood on the sidelines of the Ravens practice field in Owings Mills, his hands shoved into the pockets of his gray Ravens sweatshirt, as he talked about the work ethic of the team.
“You know, (you) bring your lunch pail to work, keep your hard hat on, keep your nose down to your work, and as long as you do that, I think it’ll be alright,” he said.
Things have turned out more than alright for the quirky 23-year-old rookie and his teammates, who will head to the Super Bowl Feb. 3 in New Orleans to face the San Francisco 49ers.
During the regular season, Tucker made 30 out of 33 field goal attempts, and in one of the top six longest games in NFL history, he nailed the 47-yard winning field goal kick against the Denver Broncos Jan. 12.
But even now that the Texas native and his teammates are headed to the big game, he said the team’s work ethic will remain the same.
“I know I sound like a broken record when I say this, but we are just following our routine,” he said. “Morgan [Cox] and Sam [Koch] put up a good ball. It is pretty hard to miss when they do that. We have a pretty clear task ahead of us, and that’s to be 1-0 this week. Anything that has happened in the last five years or 10 years or even in the last several weeks is all null and void now because we have a singular task at hand.”
Tucker, who speaks openly about his Catholic faith (“I guess on a scale of one to Catholic, I’m Catholic” he has said), is also having fun.
“The reason you play the game is to be in big moments like this – to be able to share these moments with all the people who have been on the journey – everyone in this locker room,” he said. As long as we keep faith in each other, that’s what it is all about. It is about cherishing these opportunities and these moments and being able to share them with all the people you’ve gone on this journey with.”
Fun facts about Justin Tucker:
Justin Tucker has attended Mass at Sacred Heart in Glyndon and at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore. Upon learning the basilica was the first Catholic cathedral in the country, he said, “that’s pretty cool.”
He has been described by his teammates as being “good weird” and goofy. He smiled at being described as “a live wire.”
“This is a group of guys that everybody seems to have a smile on their face at any point in the day,” Tucker said.” I think that’s why we’re good on the field too.”
He went to his first crab feast in Maryland, but the Texas native has a fondness for Mexican food and Texas-style barbecue that can’t quite be satiated in Baltimore. “I’m getting acclimated to seafood, it’s taken a little time especially when I feel like every other meal is some form of crab cake,” he joked.
For one more fun fact about Justin Tucker, check out the “Pumpkin finds his ‘forever home’” post on the blog Be Inspired.
Copyright (c) Jan. 28, 2013 CatholicReview.org