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Steelboy84
11-07-2009, 12:14 PM
By Joe Starkey, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, November 7, 2009

Willie Parker carried the ball 50 times in the first two games of the 2007 season, prompting somebody to ask first-year Steelers coach Mike Tomlin if he planned to continue riding Parker so hard.

Tomlin replied that he would "ride Willie until the wheels come off."

Earlier this week, I reminded Parker of that quote. He managed a smile but quickly turned serious.

"That year," Parker said, "he did run me a little too much."

Too much?

"I think I was leading the league in carries that year," Parker said. "I don't think that was smart of us as an offensive unit. You can look back at it, and I guess we would change some things. But it is what it is. It's about now."

Actually, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians wouldn't change a thing. After tying for fifth in the league in attempts with 337 in 2006, Parker was first in attempts (nearly 23 per game) and yards going into the 15th game of '07, at St. Louis, when he suffered a broken leg on his first carry.

"No, I wouldn't change anything," Arians said. "He was going strong, Pro Bowl. I'd take back that play he broke his leg on; that'd be the only thing. And I don't think these current injuries have anything to do with that year."

I tend to agree with Arians. Parker had a normal workload for a premier back. He was barely involved in the passing game, and Najeh Davenport took five carries a game, too.

When the Steelers signed Parker to a four-year, $13.6 million contract in September of 2006 - after only one full season - it wasn't to split a workload. They signed him to ride him, and Parker responded with two more terrific years before the fluke leg injury, when his foot caught in the turf at the Edward Jones Dome.

That proved to be the first in a string of injuries, the latest being turf toe.

The reality now is that Parker will turn 29 Wednesday, and, like many backs his age, has begun to slow down. Would four fewer carries per game have prevented the erosion?

Look around the league. Of the top 10 rushers, only one (Thomas Jones) is older than 27.

Look at history. Of the 250 rushing seasons of at least 1,200 yards, only 20 were posted by running backs 30-or-older.

It just happens. The arc of Parker's career is graphically reflected in his annual yards-per-carry average, starting with a limited-action first season:

5.8

4.7

4.4

4.1

3.8

3.1

Two months ago, Tomlin said: "Willie is our runner." Today, Parker is Rashard Mendenhall's backup. That's how fast things happen in the NFL.

In five short years, the good-natured Parker has gone from long shot to big shot to looking for his next shot. He's even starting to sound old.

"You know how it is, football, it's a young man's sport," Parker said, when asked to consider his rapidly changing fortunes. "You gotta be healthy to play this game. I've been having little nicks here and there."

This doesn't necessarily mean we've seen the last of Fast Willie. He might still help the Steelers. He is capable of a pinch-hit homer, even if he hasn't had a run longer than 34 yards since late in '06.

We could see flashes of the old Parker from time to time, but I doubt if we'll ever see it again from game to game. The Steelers have shown no interest in re-signing him after the season. It's hard to imagine anyone offering big money to a beat-up runner who will turn 30 next season.

Parker insists he isn't thinking ahead.

"One thing I do is wake up and pray in the morning and live my life right now," he said. "I just worry about the present."

Funny thing about Parker: He is the third-most prolific runner in franchise history (behind Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis) and the only one to post three consecutive years of 1,200 yards or better, yet nobody ever seemed to consider him among the NFL's elite.

Nobody but the Steelers, that is.

Why do you think they gave him the ball so much?

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/columnists/starkey/s_651996.html

Steelboy84
11-07-2009, 12:17 PM
"Two months ago, Tomlin said: "Willie is our runner." Today, Parker is Rashard Mendenhall's backup. That's how fast things happen in the NFL.

In five short years, the good-natured Parker has gone from long shot to big shot to looking for his next shot. He's even starting to sound old."


Wow........................is all I can say.

steelreserve
11-07-2009, 12:37 PM
I don't get it. What's so clouded about "SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS!!!!"

solardave
11-07-2009, 04:50 PM
It's simple really. You have to produce every game and stay healthy for the entire season to keep your job in the NFL.

klick81
11-07-2009, 08:02 PM
What? No "Thanks for your services" to Willie?

SteelC7
11-07-2009, 08:05 PM
i dont think any steeler fan is gonna badmouth willie parker, hes still one of my favorite steelers, but hey if ur not producing, ull lose ur job...but mark my words, fast willie parker will make an appearance this year, and he will help this football team get thru the end of the season and our trip thru the playoffs

MACH1
11-08-2009, 01:06 AM
The writings on the wall, :wave: Willie.

You helped us win a super bowl or two which I'm forever grateful for. Best of luck to ya in the future.

MasterOfPuppets
11-08-2009, 01:21 AM
i dont think any steeler fan is gonna badmouth willie parker, :uhh: ..

Preacher
11-08-2009, 01:24 AM
Funny thing about Parker: He is the third-most prolific runner in franchise history (behind Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis) and the only one to post three consecutive years of 1,200 yards or better, yet nobody ever seemed to consider him among the NFL's elite.

Nobody but the Steelers, that is.

Why do you think they gave him the ball so much?

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/columnists/starkey/s_651996.html

Wow..he really sucks doesn't he?

Galax Steeler
11-08-2009, 05:25 AM
I think the wheels have fallen off of Parker.:chuckle:

Steelboy84
11-08-2009, 09:12 AM
I think the wheels have fallen off of Parker.:chuckle:

I sure hope not. I hope he can get through those injuries and return to FAST WILLIE form.

Here's hoping.

:drink:

Stlrs4Life
11-08-2009, 09:22 AM
The writings on the wall, :wave: Willie.

You helped us win a super bowl or two which I'm forever grateful for. Best of luck to ya in the future.



My sentiments also.

markymarc
11-08-2009, 11:26 AM
FWP has been amazing for everything he has done for the Steelers. Sorry FWP but the wheels have fallen off. IMO this will be the last season FWP is in Pittsburgh. Rashard Mendenhall is and will remain the starter in 2009. He is our future and it looks very bright for Mendenhall.

SteelerRob
11-08-2009, 02:37 PM
My sentiments also...FWP has been a great asset to the team, but is definitely slowing down. Mendenhall shows great promise, he just needs to hold onto the ball a bit better! IMHO of course.....

HometownGal
11-08-2009, 05:11 PM
What? No "Thanks for your services" to Willie?

Not on this board, unfortunately. Steelers players go from God-like to goat in one season and in some instances, one game. :shake02:

Though I still believe he can make positive contributions to the team in their run for the playoffs, I don't see FWP wearing the black 'n gold next season. That being said, however, I am very appreciative of all of the great memories he has given me as a diehard Steelers fan, particularly that phenomenal run in SB XL. :hatsoff::tt02:

KeiselPower99
11-08-2009, 09:17 PM
I think Willie needs to get back to being himself. He is still Fast Willie after all.

Steely McSmash
11-08-2009, 11:46 PM
I think if he wants to be back he'll have to do so at a bit of a discount. Maybe 1.5-2 Mil per year. I think he's going to light it up still this year. He had basically the same YPC as Mendenhall against Cleveland playing with turf toe.

The Steelers have shown no interest in re-signing him after the season.

I'm sure they're telling Joe Starkey all their other plans for the next offseason.:sofunny:

LVSteelersfan
11-09-2009, 10:25 AM
I don't think Willie will be getting any huge contracts next year from anyone. I think the coaching staff has done him a disservice over the years by constantly pounding him up the middle. He does not have the body type to take that kind of punishment. They should have used him out on the edge more. Of course, if he could handle a screen pass smoothly instead of either dropping it or mishandling it giving the other team time to get to him.... Willie, I miss the old you, but sorry, you will never start for the Steelers again barring injury. Personally, I think he might be signed for a hometown discount and stay here as a backup next year. But I guess the Steelers are pretty good at letting players past their prime go, so he may be gone.

SteelGhost
11-09-2009, 11:01 AM
I don't think Willie will be getting any huge contracts next year from anyone. I think the coaching staff has done him a disservice over the years by constantly pounding him up the middle. He does not have the body type to take that kind of punishment. They should have used him out on the edge more. Of course, if he could handle a screen pass smoothly instead of either dropping it or mishandling it giving the other team time to get to him.... Willie, I miss the old you, but sorry, you will never start for the Steelers again barring injury. Personally, I think he might be signed for a hometown discount and stay here as a backup next year. But I guess the Steelers are pretty good at letting players past their prime go, so he may be gone.

I agree. We'll see next draft if they look for another RB ....

Thanks a lot FWP you've been great :hatsoff::applaudit:

steelreserve
11-09-2009, 12:00 PM
I agree. We'll see next draft if they look for another RB ....

Thanks a lot FWP you've been great :hatsoff::applaudit:

Even if they don't bring in anyone new, Moore would still make a pretty good second RB. And don't forget we've still got Summers and Redman hanging around, so maybe one of them will have their shit together next year. I wouldn't be surprised if we let RB go for a year, unless we take a chance on someone in the late rounds.

http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f370/capt_taco/parker-sucks-sign-1.jpg

Sharkissle29
11-09-2009, 12:21 PM
Even if they don't bring in anyone new, Moore would still make a pretty good second RB. And don't forget we've still got Summers and Redman hanging around, so maybe one of them will have their shit together next year. I wouldn't be surprised if we let RB go for a year, unless we take a chance on someone in the late rounds.

http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f370/capt_taco/parker-sucks-sign-1.jpg

you never know if a RB drops to the steelers (Mendenhalll)

you just cant predict a steelers draft accurately.

scsteeler
11-09-2009, 12:24 PM
Parker if he stays on the team will have to take a huge paycut. I think another RB is in line for the draft. I like Parker and hopeHe does get better but if not I appreciate his contribution to the Steeler's. I still don't understand all the Hate on him though.

:noidea::noidea:

SteelGhost
11-09-2009, 01:28 PM
Even if they don't bring in anyone new, Moore would still make a pretty good second RB. And don't forget we've still got Summers and Redman hanging around, so maybe one of them will have their shit together next year. I wouldn't be surprised if we let RB go for a year, unless we take a chance on someone in the late rounds.

http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f370/capt_taco/parker-sucks-sign-1.jpg

Yep I know they're in the wings, hope they improve, specially Redman, if he does the team will have a really good RB tandem. As for Moore I like his actual role a lot, he runs wisely, has soft hands and knows how to move the chains in 3rd. downs :thumbsup: I'm not sure about Summers yet, maybe more ST playing time could help him :noidea:

my .02

revefsreleets
11-09-2009, 01:50 PM
(sarcasm smiley)

You guys have it all wrong! he's going to parlay 2009's 60 carries for 187 yards, 5 catches and 1 TD into a HUGE payday next year in FA. He's just protecting his knee until he can sign the big money deal elsewhere!

steelreserve
11-09-2009, 03:58 PM
(sarcasm smiley)

You guys have it all wrong! he's going to parlay 2009's 60 carries for 187 yards, 5 catches and 1 TD into a HUGE payday next year in FA. He's just protecting his knee until he can sign the big money deal elsewhere!

Oh, come on! Didn't you know -- if you take away Chris Johnson's long runs, and you spot Parker a few extra 100-yard games ... BAM! Parker leads the league in rushing. It's only fair.

He's due for at least 5 years and $45 million, $25M guaranteed.