Samie Parker's road back to the NFL starts where it began.

Samie Parker's road back to the NFL starts where it began 

Samie Parker's road back to the NFL starts where it began.

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Parker was seen as possibly the second coming of Birden. But he stumbled out of the blocks with the Chiefs. A hamstring injury in training camp robbed him of the speed that he'd always relied on for separation.

Late in the 2004 season, Parker was given the chance to start against the Denver Broncos. In the 15th game of the year, Parker slipped behind the defense for a 35-yard touchdown.

"I remember that first touchdown," Parker says. "I usually can block out a lot of stuff while I'm on the field. But, man, Arrowhead was just going crazy."

Parker's emergence allowed the Chiefs to let go of receiver Johnnie Morton after an injury-riddled season. In 2005, Parker hauled in 36 passes and three touchdowns, despite a knee injury that limited him to 11 games.

"I'm cautiously optimistic and excited about Samie Parker," then-General Manager Carl Peterson told The Kansas City Star before the 2006 draft. "Hopefully, good things are going to happen there."

Parker posted similar numbers in 2006: 41 catches and a touchdown. Peterson showed less confidence in Parker's future in the 2007 draft, tabbing LSU's Dwayne Bowe with the 23rd overall pick.

The Chiefs' offense had been retooled to focus on Larry Johnson. Quarterback Trent Green was traded to Miami in the offseason. With backups Damon Huard and Brodie Croyle under center in 2007, Parker took a step backward. He caught two touchdowns but only 24 passes in 16 games. He averaged the lowest yards per catch (12.4) of his career. The still young wide receiver became less a story of unrealized potential and more of misevaluated potential.

"2005 and 2006 were productive years," Parker says. "I think I should have been a little more vocal. But I also think I could have played multiple positions. Maybe I could have blocked for [Chiefs kick returner] Dante [Hall]."

The Denver Broncos signed Parker in the 2008 offseason. Perhaps Denver's front office was sick of seeing Parker on the opposite sideline (his 18 catches and two touchdowns were the most he had against any team).

"This is a good situation for me because I'm going to be able to come in and compete for a job," Parker told The Denver Post.

However, he couldn't emerge from a crowded corps of receivers that included Brandon Marshall, Brandon Stokley and Eddie Royal. He was released on August 25, 2008. The Carolina Panthers signed him a day later.

"I want to showcase what I can do," Parker told the Associated Press." I just want to contribute to the team."

Two days after Parker suited up for a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was cut. He signed with the Seahawks 10 days later.

Parker had become a guy you bring to camp to challenge your players and fill out your roster — a name that appears in the transaction roundups of sports sections. When Seattle released him after three days, he'd been on three rosters in 18 days.

For the first time since Pop Warner, Parker wasn't on a football team.


Parker returned home to California after his aborted season. There is no shortage of football players to train with in the Golden State. In the offseason, he caught passes from University of Southern California alums Matt Leinart and Matt Cassel, working to build trust with quarterbacks still in the league.

"I had faith in myself," Parker says. "I just had to be out there playing on Sundays every offseason to make sure I still have a shot."

He kept in shape by running on the beach and was signed by the Oakland Raiders on May 12, 2009. Parker made it through training camp before he was let go on August 26. The Tennessee Titans worked him out a week later, but he ended up signing with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League.

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