Jason Tucker - Wide Receiver - 2002-08 - Texas Christian
Tucker getting past emotion associated with Eskimos - Mark Masters National Post - 9-10-2010
Former Edmonton Eskimos receiver Jason Tucker admits he got a bit emotional last year when he returned to Ivor Wynne Stadium for the first time since his playing career ended.
In 2008, during a game between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Eskimos in Hamilton, Tucker was hit by defensive back Jykine Bradley and fell to the turf. His neck was broken.
ďThat hit was nothing different than any other hit Iíve taken,Ē said Tucker, who would never play again. ďActually, I took one harder earlier in that game, but it was the simpler hit that ended up being the one that was more damaging.Ē
The collision fractured and dislocated two vertebrae at the base of his neck. Tucker was told he was lucky to escape the incident without being paralyzed.
Tucker joined the Eskimos as a receivers coach in 2009. And, when Edmonton visited Hamilton last year he spent a few moments standing by himself near the spot where the hit took place. He said he does not feel the need to revisit that experience this year.
ďItís two years removed now and there are no weird emotions anymore. Maybe last year it was a bit emotional, but now itís over and done with and Iíve moved on. Iíve started a new chapter in my life now Ö Iím in the coaching profession.Ē
The 34-year-old said he is not haunted by the circumstances surrounding his retirement.
ďIím happy with my career. I got two championships out of it. Thatís something about this game, you never know when something like that can happen and it can happen to anybody at any time. I enjoyed it while I was playing and I always played to my best ability, had fun Ö there are no regrets.Ē
Tucker played seven seasons in the Canadian Football League and was named an all-star four times. He helped the Eskimos win the Grey Cup twice and was the MVP of the championship game in 2003. He finished with 7,046 receiving yards, which places him fourth all-time in Edmonton franchise history.
Tucker, a father of four who lives in Texas with his wife during the off-season, said the transition from player to coach was easy.
ďIím loving it. Iím around the game. You canít beat it. This is a way for me to stay in the game. Now, I live vicariously through my players and if theyíre having success Iím having success, if theyíre not doing well then that means Iím not doing something right.Ē
The Eskimos got off to a slow start in 2010 and wins were hard to come by through the first three months of the season. However, the team seems to be playing better lately and a playoff spot is still within reach.
Tucker said he has tried to keep his group of receivers focused despite the trying times this year.
ďYou got to enjoy the game regardless of whatís going on out there. You got to have fun with it because, you never know, it could end at any time. Thatís what Iíve been telling them. Thatís my message to them: enjoy every moment out there.Ē