Brian Parker described last season as a long year of stressful waiting.
Two years ago, the McQuaid graduate and Henrietta native landed a roster spot with the Chiefs despite going undrafted.
Things were going well again in 2016, but he suffered a nerve injury in his shoulder towards the end of training camp. The injury ended his season before it started.
Nine months later, Parker is in camp with the Jets trying to re-start his NFL career.
He says his shoulder hasn’t felt this good since high school. All the time he spent rehabbing allowed him to put his young career in perspective
“Being out I had a lot of time to think about all the opportunities I had. The opportunities I’ll have going forward and how I could learn and grow from sitting out and just being out with an injury, something I couldn’t control,” Parker said. “Watching some guys around the league was encouraging to see some other guys doing well but at the same time I was doing everything I could, which was just kind of waiting around.”
Parker says he’s now doing everything he can to stay on top of health so he can return to the success he had when he first entered the league.
“My rookie year everything went right. Went to the playoffs, played a lot, played really well,” Parker said.
“Going into my second year (I’m) thinking I’m going to be playing just as much and, just like that, I’m out with an injury.
“Having a second chance with this team and having a good opportunity at the tight end position is something I’m looking forward to.”
Parker said he never had doubts that the nerve damage would heal. He never even thinks about the injury anymore.
Still, people remind him about it. He likes that. “Sometimes I need to take a step back and appreciate where I’m at as opposed to where I was 9 months ago.”
He’s past the stress, hoping to pick up his NFL career right where he left off.