WR Luke Tasker (USA TODAY Sports)
Chargers rookie receiver Luke Tasker (Cornell) is no stranger to the NFL lifestyle. The son of former Buffalo Bills receiver (and seven-time Pro Bowler) Steve Tasker, Luke joins the Chargers this week at training camp as he begins his own journey. To learn more about Tasker's offseason preparations and the pressures of carrying on the family name, we go one-on-one with the talented rookie.
An undrafted rookie, Luke Tasker (5 foot 11, 190 pounds) showcased his talents at Cornell's Pro Day alongside offensive tackle and roommate, J.C. Tretter. The pair gave Big Red nation cause for celebration when Tretter was drafted in the fourth round by the Green Bay Packers and Tasker signed his deal with the Chargers.
Since arriving in San Diego, Tasker has made sure to prove himself a team player and seize every learning opportunity.
"I was there for the entire six weeks of OTAs," Tasker said. "A big thing that stands out about the OTA time and the minicamp was the chance to work with the veteran players, especially Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander. I think it was very helpful. Those six weeks, it's all about learning."
The changes in Chargers management have afforded this year's rookies a unique opportunity. As Tasker pointed out, "It was a bit of a different case for us, for the rookies in my class, because seeing as we have a new coaching staff this year, the vets are also in the process of learning all the new terminology. So we're kind of in it together, in some senses."
With the playing ground a bit more even, Tasker has tried to distinguish himself and secure a position on the roster. One of the ways he plans on accomplishing this is by becoming an asset on special teams.
"I'm really, really excited to play special teams," he said. "If you want to make yourself un-cuttable, that's where you're going to be able to do that. I look forward to working with special teams coach Kevin Spencer and trying to make myself as valuable as I can. Whether it be by something I do at receiver, or even more likely by some of the plays I'm given the opportunity to make in the preseason games on special teams."
Given that Steve Tasker is widely regarded as one of the best special teams players in NFL history, it seems safe to assume that Luke is privy to some incredible insider tips on how to play the receiver/special teams slot. But don't expect the younger Tasker to be a replica of his father.
"People often times mistake our relationship as a coach-to-player relationship, when really he's never been my coach, he's always just been my father," Luke said. "He's made a conscious effort to not be overbearing. For the most part it's just kind of emotional coaching, helping me understand what's going to be expected, what I should be ready for."
Clearly, Tasker appears among the most ready of the rookies, as the Chargers head into training camp this week at Chargers Park.
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Nicolette Harris, a native San Diegan, is a senior at New York University as part of the school's Media, Culture and Communications program.