Broken finger, hamstring, groin, etc., etc. That has been the story of DeVante Parker’s career thus far. Every time the Miami Dolphins wide receiver appears ready to break out, something happens and he suffers another setback. It has not been an easy career for Parker, who heads into his fifth season this year, but that does not change how Parker sees himself and what he can bring to the Dolphins.
“We just know that when it’s our time to make a play, we have to come down with the ball,” Parker said of the receiver group needing to prove itself and carry the offense this year.
So, what is success for Parker? “One-thousand yards,” the receiver said simply. When asked why that would be success, he added, “I haven’t done it yet.”
Does he have what it takes to reach 1,000 yards? “Yes,” he replied.
“Absolutely,” wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell recently said of trying to use Parker’s size to the team’s advantage. “That’s definitely part of it. He’s a guy that he does create some problems because of his size. That’s some of the stuff that he’s been improving on in the offseason. But there are a lot of other things that I want him to be good at, as well. If he’s going to be a dynamic player in this league, he’s got to be multifaceted in a lot of different ways. He’s accepted that challenge. He wants to do that. He wants to be that type of player. I’m very excited about how he progressed to this point and now we’re trying to get him ready to play.”
Parker has been a frustration for fans - just as I am sure he is frustrated with not being able to perform like he believes he should. Miami re-signing him two a two-year contract this year was a surprise, as he was expected to become a free agent whenever Miami rescinded his fifth-year option. Instead, the sides worked out a new deal that could pay him up to $13 million through 2020.
“I asked DeVante, ‘Where would you like to play football?’” Parker’s agent Jimmy Gould told the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson this week. “He said, ‘I want to play for the Miami Dolphins.’ I said, ‘Good because that’s where I would like you to be.’”
Gould added that Parker being back with the Dolphins “surprised everyone,” according to Jackson.
Last year, it appeared Parker, who only caught 24 passes for 309 yards, was on his way out of Miami. He was made inactive, despite, according to Gould, being healthy. He was out of favor of then head coach Adam Gase, and the fans were tired of seeing him not perform.
As the Dolphins prepare for this upcoming season, Parker appears to be in a better place with himself and with the team. “I’m good health-wise,” he said this week. That will be the biggest hurdle Parker has to jump this year if he is going to make it to his 1,000 yard mark and show that his decision to stay with the Dolphins was the right one.
He has the talent. He has the ability. He just needs the health to be there for the entire season. Parker has looked good through the offseason training program and early in training camp. We have seen all of that before. Can he be healthy through the regular season?
Can he reach 1,000 yards?
Can he find success?