- Apr 11, 2009
- Reaction score
- Montclair, VA
Height: 5-10 Weight: 209 Age: 29
Born: 11/11/1980 Clinton , NC
College: North Carolina
Experience: 7th season
High School: Clinton HS [NC]
Fast Willie to Sign with Redskins
The Washingon Redskins and former Steelers running back Willie Parker have reached an agreement on a one-year contract with a maximum value of $3.1 million, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Parker will be in an open competition for the starting job with Clinton Portis and Larry Johnson, according to the report.
Coach Mike Shanahan will have a big-name backfield in 2010, but I'm not sure how much production we should expect. Marty Callinan has been hard at work in the ESPN Stats and Information laboratory coming up with some numbers on Portis-Johnson-Parker. Of the 54 running backs in the league who had at least 40 carries up the middle last season, those backs ranked 52, 53 and 54.
Willie Parker was born in Clinton, North Carolina, attended Clinton High School, and was a letterman in football. He was a two-time All-Conference and a two-time All-Region honoree. As a junior, he rushed for 1,329 yards and 20 touchdowns and helped lead his team to the state AA title. As a senior, he rushed for 1,801 yards and 18 touchdowns (while averaging 12.3 yards per carry) and was also named the County Player of the Year. One of Parker's cousins is Leonard Henry, former Miami Dolphins running back.
He attended the University of North Carolina. In his first year he had some success with 355 yards on 84 carries, but was only used sparingly in his last three years due to decisions made by former head Coach John Bunting to restrict Parker's playing time until he "bulked up" to fit within Bunting's attempt at establishing a power running game. In addition, Parker's father has stated that he thought the murder of Parker's best friend from home during Parker's sophomore year made it difficult for him to adapt to the new system at North Carolina.
Parker's experience as a backup in college has since drawn comparison to Hall of Famer Franco Harris, the team's all-time leading rusher and Super Bowl IX MVP, who served as a backup to Lydell Mitchell when he played at Penn State. Supposedly, Joe Paterno preferred Mitchell's style over Harris.
Professional career career
Parker was an undrafted free agent with the Steelers in 2004. While at UNC, Parker displayed great speed but little vision, resulting in inconsistent play which led to him being benched in favor of Ronnie McGill during his senior year. Parker was timed several times in the 40 yard dash coming from college. The fastest time was a 4.21.
He spent the 2004 NFL season as a backup player behind Jerome Bettis, Duce Staley and Verron Haynes. During the 2004 season he had his most impressive game in week 17 at Buffalo. Duce Staley started the game and played most of the first quarter; Parker took the rest of the game. He ran for 102 yards in the remaining 3 quarters, including a very long sprint, of 58 yards, that set up a game controlling drive. The Steelers, playing mostly reserves (third-stringer Brian St. Pierre played part of the game at QB) had already sealed the top seed in the AFC that year, but for the Bills, a win could have meant the playoffs. After Parker's performance in this game, head coach Bill Cowher gave Parker extensive playing time during the 2005 preseason.
In his second year, Parker earned the starting job after both Bettis (hamstring) and Staley (knees) missed the first part of the season with injuries. By default, Parker had to play the first game against the Tennessee Titans. He impressed Bill Cowher as well as Titans coach Jeff Fisher by gaining 161 rushing yards on 22 attempts (7.3 average). With a 45 yard toss play, and a 48 yard screen play, he was getting major attention from everyone on the field. After following up this performance with another 100+ yard game against the Houston Texans, Cowher said "He's here to stay." "Fast Willie" started 15 of 16 games that season (he was injured in week 9 against the Green Bay Packers and missed the week 10 contest against the Cleveland Browns), finishing with 255 carries for 1,202 yards (4.7 average, a career long 80 yard touchdown run in week 16 against the Browns) and 4 touchdowns. He also finished the season with 218 yards receiving and one touchdown. Willie Parker was the first Steeler back since Bettis in 2001 to top 1,000 yards in a season. Also, he is the second undrafted running back to rush for over 1,200 in the history of the NFL ...
CLICK HERE to read more