By Trey McCurry.
A relaxed and rested Kyle Parker met with the media today for the first time since announcing his decision last week to return to Clemson to play football. Parker opened with “I love Clemson. I am ready to get back on the field. I am ready to turn the page and gear up for football.”
That seemed to set the stage for the whole press conference as Parker heaped praise on everyone involved at Clemson and all the support he has received during the decision process. When asked about the process, Parker replied with “I have been blessed here. I have Coach Swinney who has my best interest and I have Jack and TR (who were both in attendance). That is one of the reasons I came back is that those guys have been loyal to me and put a lot of time into making me a better player.”
He went on to brag about his “awesome” offensive line and talked about how much he learned from C.J. Spiller and Michael Palmer last season. Parker seemed eager to get back on the field and said he came back to win.
“We’re going to jump head first into this thing and go as hard as we can. We’re going to prepare as best we can and hopefully have a successful season,” said Parker.
As stressful as many fans thought the June 20th deadline was, Parker said it was tough on him as well. “The 20th was the most nerve racking. We were throwing numbers back and forth and it really went down to the last minute.” He laughed that his phone was “blowing up” all day asking what he was going to decide and was thankful for “all the people supporting me with my best interest in mind.”
In the end, Parker felt “at peace” with his decision to come back and made the late night call to Coach Swinney. When he passed the word along that he was returning, he said Swinney replied with a “hot damn.” Coach Billy Napier had a similar response and Parker said he was looking forward to working with both coaches again this season.
“My first year was there first year of coach. We ha a good one last year and hopefully we can make this one a better one.” Parker also referred to his decision as “the best for me, my family, and for my career. You can’t ask for a better place to play than Clemson,” said the red-shirt sophomore.
Parker said the impending negotiations would not be a distraction for football. “I think I am ready for that next step. I learned a lot (from Spiller and Palmer) last year and I have a better understanding of where I need to be mentally now.”
As far as the Rockies, Parker expects a deal to come, but probably right at the August 16th deadline.
“Ultimately, I think we will come to a deal where I will play football and then go play for the Rockies in the spring,” said Parker.
When asked about a possible NFL career, Parker said “there was a lot for me to prove before we think about that.” With either case in mind, Parker has looked into an insurance policy that protects him in case of injury.
No matter what, Parker said he will “go out, have fun, and play the best I can.” With Parker back in the fold, Clemson fans can look forward to watching the first-round pick try to lead the Tigers back to the ACC Championship game and even further this season.