BEREA - Chris Rucker has changed places and changed positions.
Now the Warren G. Harding graduate is hoping for a change of luck in his latest pursuit of a career in the NFL.
Rucker was invited to this week's minicamp being conducted by first-year Browns coach Rob Chudzinski. Shortly after the camp ends today, Rucker will know if he'll continue with the team's offseason program or look for another opportunity elsewhere.
There's something different about Rucker's situation compared to his time recently with the Indianapolis Colts. He's being tested at free safety instead of his natural position of cornerback.
"That's another thing I'm learning how to transition in to," Rucker said. "I feel like I can do both."
Rucker was selected in the sixth round of the 2011 draft by the Colts. He appeared in 15 games with four starts in his rookie season, compiling 36 tackles (25 solos and 11 assists) while breaking up two passes.
Rucker sat out all of last season after the Colts waived him in camp. Still living in Warren, Rucker didn't hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity given to him by the Browns. There was one practice Tuesday and Wednesday, with a third session scheduled for this morning.
So far the feedback from the coaches has been favorable, but there are no assurances that he will receive the good word once camp ends.
"They're saying I'm doing pretty good," Rucker said. "A lot of guys have been here for awhile, so they know what the defense is doing. I'm trying to catch up on some things and catch on as I go along."
The move to safety could prove favorable to Rucker. Among the missing pieces defensively is a dependable free safety. Usama Young was waived after two uneventful seasons. Among the returners are second-year veteran Tashaun Gipson, an undrafted free agent last season, and third-year veteran Eric Hagg, who opened the season as the starter.
"It's an opportunity, but at the same time they have a lot of guys that know what they're doing back there," Rucker said. "They're helping me out with things when I have questions. It's pretty comforting in the meeting room with them teaching me things they know about the defense."
Rucker is one of those players that walks the fine line between being a regular on a roster and being out of a job. At age 24, he's hopeful that he will find stability soon.
"I think mostly it's opportunity," he said. "A lot of times guys find the right situations. With me it's finding the right situation and finding somewhere they need players like me to go out and work hard and make plays. That's the only thing holding me back right now."
Rucker hasn't reached the stage where he's ready to give up on his dream. If it doesn't happen with the Browns, there are plenty of other teams that might possibly show an interest.
"I feel like I'll keep plugging away," he said. "I still feel like I can play and compete at a high level. I'll keep giving it a go until I feel in my mind and my body that it's about time to give it up and start pursuing other things."
One of those things could be coaching.
"That's something I've always wanted to do," Rucker said. "I love the game so much and I want to be around it. That would be nice."
If things work out with the Browns, Rucker will gladly put that career path on hold.