DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — DeVante Parker has turn into such an attention-grabbing receiver that even he’s speaking about it.
The Miami Dolphins wideout is a person of few phrases, however in his first 4 NFL seasons, makes an attempt to let his play do the speaking have been a little bit of a bust.
So was Parker. Miami’s 2015 first-round choose developed a status as an underachiever unable or unwilling to play by way of nagging accidents, and there was some head-scratching across the league in March when the Dolphins gave him a $10 million, two-year contract.
Their religion is lastly paying off, and Parker has turn into a centerpiece in Miami’s rebuilding plan.
”He is creating into the participant that everyone thought he could possibly be,” Dolphins huge receivers coach Karl Dorrell stated.
Parker is on tempo for his first 1,000-yard season, and the sport Sunday was his finest but. He had his first two-touchdown recreation, with each scores coming because of leaping catches, and a career-high 159 yards on seven receptions because the Dolphins upset the Philadelphia Eagles.
”Each time I seemed up he was coming down with the ball,” Miami offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea stated, ”which as a play-caller makes it straightforward to maintain throwing it as much as him.”
It was a breakout efficiency in a breakout season.
This yr Parker has 854 yards receiving and 6 touchdowns, each profession highs, and is 4 receptions shy of his career-best whole of 57. Since Week 6 he leads the AFC in yards receiving.
Many catches have been spotlight materials, with the 6-foot-Three Parker typically out-leaping a defensive again or two to grab what Dolphins coach Brian Flores calls 50-50 balls.
”I’ve to catch the subsequent one – that is all it’s,” Parker stated. ”I do know I’ve the flexibility to make performs and do no matter I can to assist the crew.”
For Parker, that is a protracted speech. He has all the time been notoriously media-shy, and is quiet across the crew, too.
”He does not say a lot,” Dorrell stated. ”He grunts lots. He smiles, although. He smiles fairly a bit.”
Parker’s doing that extra this season as he disproves doubters – not simply those that dissed him, however critics who handled the 2019 Dolphins as laughingstocks.
”They received it improper,” Parker stated. ”This crew fights.”
Sparked by Parker, the Dolphins (Three-9) have pulled off three upsets up to now 5 weeks. This Sunday they play the New York Jets, who’re positive to make containing Parker a precedence.
He has turn into the Dolphins’ finest offensive participant for Flores, Parker’s third head coach in Miami. Dorrell, as a part of the brand new workers, stated he supplied Parker a clear slate final spring.
”He and I hit it off proper from the beginning after we had our first assembly about, ‘I am teaching you the participant from this level ahead and never trying backward,”’ Dorrell stated.
Whereas Parker was typically slowed by accidents throughout his first 4 seasons, he hasn’t missed a apply for the reason that new workers took over.
Now 26, he has embraced acupuncture and different remedies to assist keep wholesome. He is spending extra time learning video and recreation plans. He earns reward from teammates as selfless.
And he is blossoming right into a star.
”I feel it is a bit of little bit of every part. It is well being, it is maturity, his expertise,” Flores stated. ”Once you’re 22 years outdated and also you’re simply coming within the league and it is the primary time you have ever had any cash, a few of these issues – acupuncture, massages and hydration – type of fall by the wayside. As you become old, you perceive that these issues are essential, and that every part you do counts.
”DeVante has labored extraordinarily exhausting. Soccer is essential to him.”
Whereas Flores credit Parker, Parker credit the Dolphins.
”They gave me one other probability. They did not need to signal me again, however they did,” Parker stated.
”I am nonetheless right here.”
He does not say a lot, however within the debate about whether or not he is a bust, Parker could get the final phrase.
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