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Sunday, August 29, 2010
For Gailey's offense, Parrish a thought

By Tim Graham

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- A year ago, Roscoe Parrish wanted out.

The Buffalo Bills signed Terrell Owens, a move that would squash Parrish at the bottom of a depth chart he already felt was oppressive. Parrish was the NFL's leading punt returner in 2007 and 2008 but couldn't convince the Bills to use him more in their atrocious offense.

Roscoe Parrish
Under Chan Gailey, Roscoe Parrish figures to be an important aspect of Buffalo's offense.
Parrish went to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, who also happens to be Owens' agent, and told him to request a trade.

The Bills refused. Rosenhaus floated reports that Parrish was on the trade block in hopes of stimulating some action. That didn't help either.

Why the Bills insisted on keeping Parrish isn't clear. He rotted on the sideline. Even more bizarre, former head coach Dick Jauron named Parrish the third quarterback.

"In this profession, you can never feel down on yourself," said Parrish, who caught a grand total of three passes for 34 yards last year. "Last year was a tough year for me, and I just had to handle myself like a professional and have a good attitude. You never know what tomorrow will bring."

That's the truth.

Parrish loves playing for the Bills again. In Saturday night's 35-20 preseason victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Ralph Wilson Stadium, he had a team-high four receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown.

"He's a big weapon for this football team," new Bills coach Chan Gailey said.

To be considered a weapon is contrary to Jauron's feelings. But Jauron was offensively unaware, a defensive coach through and through who would always claim he was working on ways to get Parrish more involved but never did.

Gailey, meanwhile, has a respected offensive mind.

"He just likes to get the ball in his playmakers' hands," Parrish said. "I heard a lot before, but that is in the past. Right now is right now. I just have to control my own destiny, and that is to take advantage of all the opportunities that come my way."

Asked if he knows why Parrish wasn't used more in the past, Gailey replied "I don't know anything about that."

The main criticisms of Parrish are that he is 5-foot-9 and sometimes plays small, unable to beat press coverage and unable to get physical. But when I spoke to Parrish last year about the outside perceptions of his limitations, he rattled off a list of receivers who play bigger than their height: Santana Moss, Steve Smith, DeSean Jackson, Eddie Royal.

Parrish might finally get the chance to see if he can make an impact, too.

"I've been a punt returner for a while in this league," Parrish said. "My speed and my quickness have been helping me out a lot. I'm just trying to transfer that over as a receiver."