Stepping out of a father’s shadow can be difficult for any son but consider what it’s like for Luke Tasker.
Luke’s father, Steve, is a Buffalo Bills legend; a seven-time Pro Bowler, 2016 Hall of Fame nominee and current CBS color commentator.
Luke, however, is well on his way to forging his own path and cementing his own legacy.
While attending St. Francis High School in East Aurora, Luke would spend every Sunday watching his father streak down the field catching touchdowns for the Bills. It’s a safe assumption that the expectations put upon the son of a hometown hero would be enormous but Luke was more than up to the task.
“You know, I never saw it as a negative, I saw it as a positive more than anything,” Luke explained. “If it happened it was in high school, some people would label me “Steve Tasker’s son” but it never really bothered me. My father taught me to be a good teammate and love the game of football and that I am grateful for.”
On the field the younger Tasker was a relentless leader of his team, garnering a first team all-state selection in his senior season as a defensive back and elected captain by his teammates in both his junior and senior season. He was named the academic player of the year in his league during his senior year while being named as a member of the WNY all-academic team.
After graduation, Tasker took his talents to the Ivy League where he majored in Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. Tasker played all four years for the Big Red, excelling both in the classroom and on the field, working hard and waiting for his shot at the NFL.
In the spring of 2013 Tasker signed with the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent but was cut from the team during training camp in August. It was then that he turned to his old coaches at Cornell, Kent Austin and Tommy Condell, then the head coach and offensive coordinator of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.
“Coach (Kent) Austin and Coach (Tommy) Condell were at Hamilton when I got cut, so they reached out and got me a spot on the team,” Tasker said. “I had already had that level of trust and established ties with them so the transition was easy, I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
After appearing in only five games in 2013, Tasker enjoyed a breakout year in 2014 when he led the team in receiving yards (937) catches (72) and touchdowns (5). He was selected as a CFL East All-Star that year for the first time in his career.
Following his sensational 2014 season, Tasker got another chance at the NFL, this time with the Packers. Despite being offered a two-year deal, Tasker ended up turning down Green Bay and staying north of the border.
“I worked out with the Packers and thought I did as well as I could have,” Tasker said. “I ran some drills and some route trees for the coaches and they decided to offer me a two year deal with minimal guarantees going into camp. I’ve loved my time here and I feel that the potential to win a championship made Hamilton a more attractive option for me.”
After making it to the Grey Cup championship game two seasons in a row and falling short, Tasker and the Tiger-Cats (9-5) are back in the race again in 2015. They are at the top of the East Division and own the tie-breaker against the Toronto Argonauts.
At only 24 years old, the future is bright for Luke. While he hasn’t ruled out a return to the NFL one day, there’s only one thing on his mind right now and it isn’t how successful his father was on Sundays for the Bills
“Right now, trying to win a championship is all I care about,” Tasker said emphatically.