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BB2W
12-22-2005, 05:00 PM
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Thirteen NFL running backs have rushed for 1,000 yards this season, and four are fewer than 100 yards away. Most share a common bond of college stardom, getting enormous money before playing their first NFL game, being a big name and a big deal long before they were pros.

Nine were first-round draft picks. Three more went in the second round. Only one in the group went as low as the sixth round.

Then there's Willie Parker, who needs 63 yards in his final two games to become only the sixth running back in the Pittsburgh Steelers' 73-season history with a 1,000-yard season.

First-round draft pick? He wasn't even the first back picked most Saturdays by his own college, spending all but a few games at North Carolina as a backup - barely getting 1,000 yards in his career. He had speed and strength, often outlifting the other backs in the weight room, but for some reason he didn't have what the Tar Heels wanted.

Dan Rooney Jr., the son of the Steelers' chairman and a team scout, remembered Parker from his starring days at Clinton (N.C.) High School and recommended signing him as an undrafted free agent.

Parker was as raw as could be in his first training camp in 2004, but his speed made such an impression on coach Bill Cowher that he made it through the roster cuts. The first time he got more than a few carries in a game, he ran for 102 yards against the Bills in the season finale.

When Jerome Bettis and Duce Staley got hurt in training camp this summer, Parker stepped in and gained 272 yards in the first two games. He's had only one 100-yard game since, but has never given back his job to two backs who have a combined 11 1,000-yard seasons between them.

All season, Parker has deflected credit for his success to the offensive line, the coaches' game plan or to Bettis and Staley for showing him the way. But now that 1,000 yards are so close, Parker acknowledges it would mean a lot personally.

"I can't say a lie and say it's not so,'' he said. "It's because of how I got here and the fact I haven't rushed for 1,000 yards since high school. Being in the elite role of runners like Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Edgerrin James, LaDainian Tomlinson, Jerome, it would be real good for me to get over the mark.''

Parker has always had the kind of turn-the-corner speed the Steelers have lacked at running back; as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said, "It's a lot of fun to just give him the ball and watch him run.''

What Parker is showing is that he also possesses perseverance, motivation and mental toughness, qualities not always found among first-round draft picks who have generally known little adversity in their pre-NFL careers.

Parker showed it again Sunday when, after getting benched the week before for fumbling for the third time in two games, he came back with a solid 81-yard game against the Vikings.

"Because of my parents, `I can't' wasn't allowed to be part of my dictionary,'' Parker said. "I'd be saying at North Carolina, `I can't take any more of this,' and some parents would have been like, `Give it up, you don't have to take this.' But they wouldn't let me leave, and I stuck it out. Now, if I'm ever a father, I'm going to tell my kids they can never use the words, `I can't.' You can do anything the next man can do.''

What's surprising about Parker's near-accomplishment is that, for a franchise long known for its power running game, the only Steelers running backs with 1,000-yard seasons are Bettis, Franco Harris, John Henry Johnson, Rocky Bleier and Barry Foster. Bleier and Foster did it only once each.

For Parker, it's a case of so few yards to go for a man who has come so far.

"Let me tell you a story that happened in high school,'' he said. "The two best teams in the state were in the same conference, and this other team beats us. We play them again in the regional, and they've already got their buses ordered and their T-shirts for going to state. So my team got a little fired up about that.

"We already knew we were the best team, and we beat them like 33-0. And the next day in the paper they said Willie Parker is only a junior, his team's not supposed to win this game,'' Parker said.

And how fitting is this? His high school team is nicknamed the Dark Horses. If there ever was a dark horse candidate to be an NFL 1,000-yard rusher, it's Parker.

"The moral of the story? It's not supposed to happen that way again - I'm not even thinking in my wildest dreams of being near 1,000 yards, and it's coming around now,'' he said. "The picture's being painted now.''


link-----> http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10576924/

SteelCityMan786
12-22-2005, 05:27 PM
WILLIE FOR 1,000! Good to see Willie can get it done this year. 1,000 yards man that is a sign of a good year.

Suitanim
12-22-2005, 06:05 PM
All the more impressive considering that he sat for a couple games and had to split a lot of time with Duce and the Bus.

Prosdo
12-22-2005, 06:21 PM
I love Willie's story. He wasn't drafted, but he got a chance with a NFL team and made the most of it. Congrats Willie! Would be great to see you hit 1,000 yards.

Sharkissle29
12-22-2005, 06:24 PM
it will be nice to see him get it. a good way to really start off his career as a NFL RB.

SteelCityMan786
12-22-2005, 06:27 PM
Undrafted FA to a NFL Super Star. This man has a great future with Pittsburgh.

BB2W
12-22-2005, 08:12 PM
I am suprised that we have only had five 1,000 yard rushers... Parker would be the sixth.

TasmanianTroy271
12-22-2005, 08:28 PM
I think the whole "only having 5 running backs with over 1,000 yard seasons" is kind of misleading. The Steelers never really did anything before the Dynasty, and we had Franco from 1972-83. After Franco was Frank Pollard, who got 851 and 991 yards in 84 and 85, then had a season ending injury in 1986 and was never the same. Then Earnest Jackson took over, who had 2 1,000 yard seasons in SD and PHI, then came here and had 910, 696, and 315. He takes us to 1989. I can't find out who the starter was from 1989. in 1990, Barry Foster finally comes in. He reaches his peak in 1992 with 1690, and then Bam Morris comes in and they start splitting time. Bam and Pegram split time in 1995, then Bam leaves, and in 1996 we get Jerome, which brings us up to now. All in all, we have alot of 800+ yard years, but not alot of 1 person rushing for 1,000 yards. I think it'll be great if Willie does. He's a great story, and it could only happen with the Steelers.

clevestinks
12-22-2005, 09:25 PM
Nice job Willie! Lets go for 1200!

Koopa
12-22-2005, 09:45 PM
Undrafted FA to a NFL Super Star. This man has a great future with Pittsburgh.

aight i wouldn't go there, willie is far from being an nfl superstar, but anyway i've like willie since we got him, i still don't think he is the answer for us, but hell i wouldn't mind being wrong with this. i'm glad he's getting a 1000+ yards this season, and he's the kinda players i like, the undrafted players that end up having a little impact to the team.

BlitzburghRockCity
12-23-2005, 01:28 AM
Willie is a guy that can go for 63 yards in 1 shot if he gets the chance... zzzooooommmmm!! :tt:

Koopa
12-23-2005, 02:04 AM
it'll be pretty tight if we have the ball on the 20 yard line, and willie bust a 80 yard touchdown.

BlitzburghRockCity
12-23-2005, 02:17 AM
Yeah the clowns would just love that too !! Go get em Willie and Bus !!

Rotorhead
12-23-2005, 07:42 AM
It makes me still think that it would be a good thing to have him starting next year with Duece as a change of pace runner. If Staley was healthy all next year (he should be as he basically took this year off) that would be a great 1-2 combo to have in the backfield. How bout ARE/Parker option play . . . that would strike some fear into opposing defenses!

SteelCityMan786
12-23-2005, 09:42 AM
aight i wouldn't go there, willie is far from being an nfl superstar, but anyway i've like willie since we got him, i still don't think he is the answer for us, but hell i wouldn't mind being wrong with this. i'm glad he's getting a 1000+ yards this season, and he's the kinda players i like, the undrafted players that end up having a little impact to the team.

I am just hoping I didn't jump the gun when i said that.

melroseplace
12-23-2005, 01:02 PM
I'm sure he'll get there considering there won't be much passing these last two games. I really hope so, something like this seems like it's a long time coming for him

SteelCityMan786
12-23-2005, 02:04 PM
The Last 2 Games for the Steelers will be CAKEWALKS!

Koopa
12-23-2005, 04:46 PM
well nothing in the nfl is a cakewalk but i seriously doubt we'll lose to the lions or browns.

RUN WILLIE RUN!!!

MichiSteeler
12-23-2005, 09:30 PM
Thats good for Willie, and i like him and all. But i dont know why hes in there sometimes. They always start off the game with him and he averages like 2 yards a carry. Every once in awhile he'll take one 10 yards or so. But i dont think hes all that great. Two good games(titans and texans, bengals wasnt bad either) doesnt really mean he should start the rest of the season. A lot of games he has just sucked though. I dont know he just cant get the job done sometimes. Hes only good for a couple "long" runs a game. idk

clevestinks
12-23-2005, 10:24 PM
I am still not completley sold on Willie Parker, as a back that can carry us if needed. And 1,000 yards is nice, but the bar should be higher.

BlitzburghRockCity
12-23-2005, 10:27 PM
I was skeptical of Willie ever since he was named the starter.. I back him though 100% becuz he's a Steeler and becuz he can do some electrifying things for us... but its not exactly hard to get 1000 yds this day and age.. I mean all you have to do is average 65 yds a game or something like that and u'll get a 1000 every year.. Great running backs arent measured by 1000 yd seasons. I mean if Tike Barber, LT, Shaun Alexander have 1000 yd season..its an off year for them. These guys are averaging 1400,1500,1600 yds a season.

Once upon a time we had RB's that would get those numbers..but now anymore its running back by committee which I hate to say it just doesnt float my boat.

clevestinks
12-23-2005, 10:42 PM
I was skeptical of Willie ever since he was named the starter.. I back him though 100% becuz he's a Steeler and becuz he can do some electrifying things for us... but its not exactly hard to get 1000 yds this day and age.. I mean all you have to do is average 65 yds a game or something like that and u'll get a 1000 every year.. Great running backs arent measured by 1000 yd seasons. I mean if Tike Barber, LT, Shaun Alexander have 1000 yd season..its an off year for them. These guys are averaging 1400,1500,1600 yds a season.

Once upon a time we had RB's that would get those numbers..but now anymore its running back by committee which I hate to say it just doesnt float my boat.
Yeah I agree with you. And I`m not giving up on him by no means. I just need more. He has a real good shot to get me in his corner tomorrow!

BlitzburghRockCity
12-23-2005, 11:11 PM
He has a good shot to gain alot tomorrow for me as well. NO matter how sorry the clowns are when you beat up on them its always a satisfying feeling :tt:

SteelCityMan786
12-23-2005, 11:16 PM
I hope Willie as well as some others have good games. I have A LOT OF THE STEELERS Starting Offense in My Fantasy Team Starting Line Up And I am 1 win away from being in my fantasy league championship.

MichiSteeler
12-24-2005, 11:36 AM
I hope Willie as well as some others have good games. I have A LOT OF THE STEELERS Starting Offense in My Fantasy Team Starting Line Up And I am 1 win away from being in my fantasy league championship.

Yeah, i had Hines and Steelers D on my team! :jammin: They led me to a 12-2 regular season record.. Sadly i lost by 1 point...

clevestinks
12-24-2005, 11:39 AM
Willie gets to 1,000 by halftime today! He`ll blow right by Orpheus Roye, then after that he is running free. Free Willie!

BlitzburghRockCity
12-24-2005, 11:53 AM
What was that that just blew past me.. oh that was the blur, the speed demon, the wind... Fast Willie Parker ! :tt:

clevestinks
12-24-2005, 04:27 PM
I was close on Willy getting to 1000 by half

Randle el#82
12-24-2005, 05:20 PM
w00t Willie got 1,000 =]

tony hipchest
12-24-2005, 05:23 PM
I was close on Willy getting to 1000 by half

good call cleve

Sharkissle29
12-24-2005, 05:34 PM
wow that 80 yard run was excited, when he got out in the open, was their ever a doubt?

Koopa
12-24-2005, 06:18 PM
it'll be pretty tight if we have the ball on the 20 yard line, and willie bust a 80 yard touchdown.

i actually got what i wanted. now i hope ward has a 25 yard touchdown against the lions so he can get a 1000 yards for the season

clevestinks
12-24-2005, 07:08 PM
1,000 yards congrats Willie! Do you think that was Mr.Rooney on the phone with Willie after the TD, saying " Keep it up young man, and you are going to get paid, big time"?

BB2W
12-25-2005, 12:00 AM
Congrats to Willie!!!... and what a great way to cross the 1,000 yard mark on an 80 yard touchdown.

SteelCityMan786
12-25-2005, 08:29 AM
That Run was awesome for 1,000. 80 Yard TD.

Ambridge
12-25-2005, 08:33 AM
1000 Beers for Willie.
:chug: Salute!