Truluck In A (Pass) Rush To Get Going

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The Sunday following the final weekend of preseason game is always a nervous time for players fighting for roster spots in the NFL.

Although R-Kal Truluck had a feeling he wasn't going to be a Kansas City Chief much longer, he wasn't nervous about the cut-down day. He knew he'd be playing football somewhere, but the 29-year old didn't know where.

That's where the Packers came in. Looking to improve the team's pass rush, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman traded a pair of draft picks (fifth- and sixth-round selections in 2005) to the Chiefs to acquire the 6-foot-4, 260-pound defensive end.

"I wasn't surprised that I was traded," Truluck said Monday after arriving at Lambeau Field. "I was more surprised to find out that I was coming to Green Bay. I felt like a trade was going to happen. I knew going into Sunday that something would happen."

Surprised as he may have been to be coming to Wisconsin, the native of Brooklyn, New York is thrilled to be a Packer, and is looking forward to playing in front of the Lambeau faithful every Sunday.

"I know the great tradition and some of the great players they have here," he said. "Being a part of that is exciting to me. Unfortunately, I was injured last year when the Chiefs played here, so I didn't get to make the trip to Green Bay. I would have loved to have played here, but now I'll have the great opportunity to play in front of this crazy crowd at Lambeau Field."

Truluck played in 20 games over two seasons with the Chiefs, but he is a seasoned professional, having traveled quite a journey to reach the point he's at now.

The graduate of the State University of New York at Cortland first signed as a rookie free agent with the Washington Redskins in 1997, but was waived at the end of training camp.

The defender then honed his pass-rushing skills for three seasons (1998-2000) with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League and two years (2001-02) with the Detroit Fury of the Arena Football League.

Working as a situational pass rusher, Truluck finished the 2003 season just half-a-sack off the Chiefs' team-lead with five, and really came on toward the end of the season. He registered two sacks in the season finale against Chicago, and then added another when he dropped the Colts' Peyton Manning for a loss in the playoffs.

He envisions more of the same when he gets out on to the field wearing No. 91 for the Green and Gold.

"Without a doubt, rushing the passer is the strength of my game," Truluck said. "I think this will be a nice fit, especially if things progress the way that they hopefully will. It will be great to rush with Kabeer and put a lot of heat on the quarterback.

"The coaches have given me some idea of what they're going to want me to do, and that's without a doubt to be another bookend for Kabeer and rush the passer with him. That's what I know right now, I'm sure I'll find out more in depth Wednesday, when we have meetings and practice."

Speaking Sunday following the trade, Sherman gave a quick scouting report of what Truluck will bring to the defense.

"R-Kal is an outside rusher, obviously. He'll be involved immediately in our dime and nickel packages. He'll rush on the left side, which he's done in practice more than he's done on the right side defensively. I feel like he has speed off the edge, and he is a good pass-rusher technique-wise, he has a good stab move. He works his hands extremely well."

Truluck has a week to prepare for his first game action with the Packers. He's looking forward to teaming up with KGB Monday night in Carolina. If his attitude and desire to get to the quarterback are a prelude to his performance, the Panthers' offensive line will be the first to have their hands full with Green Bay's new one-two sack combination.

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