Preston Parker Talks About Changing His WaysSeptember 24th, 2011
Drugs, drinking and driving, weapons, arrests and dealing with prosecutors were all part of Preston Parker’s days at Florida State University — before he got booted from the football team and landed at Division II North Alabama.
Last year, Parker made the Bucs as an undrafted rookie, and last week against Minnesota, he had his first breakout game with six catches for 98 yards.
Speaking last night on Total Access on WDAE-AM 620, Parker talked a bit about turning his life around.
Parker said he landed at North Alabama thanks to his former coach Bobby Bowden and Terry Bowden, then the new head coach at North Alabama.
“I never doubted I wouldn’t make it to the NFL. I just kept pushing. I knew everything happened for a reason. That was supposed to happen, me getting dismissed. I learned a lot of things from Florida State, to North Alabama to Tampa. And I’m still learning things, but I’m a much wiser guy, a better guy,” Parker said.
“I’m making a lot of better decisions. Young and dumb, you know what they say. I’m glad I went through it, Because if I wouldn’t have gone through it, it would have been a much bigger disaster than what happened at Florida State.
”Just being in Florence, Alabama. There’s one KFC there, and there’s two workers that work there 24/7. They only have two workers, and they don’t have no barbecue sauce. So it gave me time to get my thoughts together and see where I wanted to go in life. I knew I wanted to go to the league, so it let me know what I had to do to get here.”
Parker explained how at North Alabama he got involved in a non-football student committee to analyze campus issues and help improve them. He also said his focus there was football and grades.
And Parker shared his 2010 draft-day story of Bucs wide receivers coach Eric Yarber calling him during the seventh round to say the Bucs wanted him on board with them immediately following the draft. Parker said he committed instantly because the Bucs were the first to call and he wasn’t about to wait for other offers or try to negotiate a contract.
Joe’s glad to see the young man turned around his fortunes.