KANSAS CITY- It is a popular cliche to say that life comes full-circle. But for Command receiver Samie Parker, the phrase means just a little bit more than that, because in his case, he is not only back in the city where he started his professional football career. He is back where he always wanted to be.
Parker was drafted in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs and the former University of Oregon stand-out receiver enjoyed a productive four years in the metro. Growing up on the west coast, it was Parker’s first chance to call KC home. But professional athletes rarely get to put down roots anywhere for long. Football would take Parker to the cities of Seattle, Oakland, Las Vegas, Denver, and Chicago, just to name a few.
Despite all his travels, Kansas City was always a special place for Parker because it is where his daughter calls home. So when the Command offered him a contract back in late November, it was one of the easiest decisions he could ever make.
“I’m so happy that I’ll get to see my daughter every day,” Parker said. “It was hard not always getting to see her when I was playing in different cities. This will be a great experience for both of us. I can’t wait to have her at my games and to see the excitement on her face. That means the world to me.”
And as for football, it’s safe to say that Parker is definitely excited to get back on the field for a city that he holds dear.
“It’s going to feel great to get back out there and play football,” Parker said. “There are a lot of things I still want to accomplish here in the metro. I want to do everything I can to help bring a winning tradition to the Command and to the loyal fans ofKansas City.”
When he takes the field for the Command this March, it will not be the first time Parker has stepped foot on an Arena Football gridiron. In 2010, he started 11 games for the Chicago Rush, catching 78 passes for 1,135 yards and 15 touchdowns. For Parker, another chance to attack defensive backs at full speed is a perk of the AFL that he relishes.
“I know I can cause some trouble for a DB starting from a stand-still,” Parker said. “But being able to go at them at full speed from the line of scrimmage really puts the secondary at a disadvantage, and I think it’s a unique aspect of this game that makes it exciting for the fans and the players. It’s been a little while since I’ve played Arena. The outdoor game is completely different from being indoors. But I believe the time I spent with the Rush will help me get acclimated faster. That experience will certainly help.”
Parker’s travels and extensive professional experience have also taught him what it takes to win a championship at any level, something he did twice with the United Football League’s Las Vegas Locomotives in 2009 and 2010. The speedy receiver will look to bring the same work ethic to the Command in 2012.
“There’s nothing like winning a championship, in any sport,” Parker said. “It’s all about being on the same page and building team chemistry. I already know a few of the guys on this year’s squad, so that will certainly help me. We just have to create an environment that condones camaraderie, and in doing so, we may bend at times but we’ll never break. It doesn’t matter if you lose close game or if you get blown out. You have to stay together as a team if you want to achieve anything, or you’ll die as individuals.
With training camp around the corner in mid-February, players across the League have already been honing their skills in an effort to gain a competitive edge. But even so, there’s still always time to take a breather and spend time with loved ones during the holidays.
“I’m just excited to see all of my family,” Parker said. “No matter where I am, I’m always home for Christmas with my daughter. Like any other parent, I love watching her open presents and seeing the smile on her face. There’s no greater feeling than that.”
When asked what fans can expect out of him and the Command moving forward, he wanted to make sure he was more than clear on the subject.
“We’re going to go out there, run fast, hit hard, and at the end of the day, we’re going to build a winning program here in Kansas City. But we can’t do it without our fans and their support. That’s why we need Sprint Center loud, because we want to make it a place that no team wants to come to.”
Welcome home, Samie. Kansas City is ready.
Photo Credit: Ed Zurga, Associated Press