Former Beaufort High School star Ron Parker has a new home – and it’s a lot closer to his hometown.
The 30-year-old defensive back signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons, the team announced Monday.
Parker was largely overlooked by college coaches coming out of Beaufort High but went on to have a standout career at NCAA Division II Newberry before being signing to Oakland’s practice squad in 2011. He bounced around among Oakland, Seattle, and Carolina for two years, appearing in five games in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons before breaking out with Kansas City in 2013.
After playing in all 16 games as a key reserve for the Chiefs in 2013, Parker earned a starting role the next season and signed a five-year, $25 million contract — including an $8 million guarantee — prior to the 2015 season. Parker started all 48 games over the past three seasons but was a salary-cap casualty this offseason when the Chiefs released him to free up nearly $5 million in cap space. In five seasons with the Chiefs, Parker recorded 318 tackles, 43 pass defenses, nine interceptions, seven sacks, five forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.
Parker joins a crowded secondary in Atlanta, as the Falcons return their top five defensive backs and also added free agent Justin Bethel and second-round pick Isaiah Oliver this offseason.
“What drew me here is that I’ve seen it’s a great fit,” Parker told the Falcons’ official website. “They’ve got a great team – got great guys, all around: Special teams, defense, offense. I just think the organization fits my style. I’ve got some relationships with the coaches in here – Dan Quinn and Marquand [Manuel]. I saw them early in my career when I was in Seattle, so we have good background history just from knowing each other. I think this is a good organization for me to be with. Couple of steps off from winning the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, and I think we’re that close to getting it this year.”
Parker is scheduled to hold a free non-contact football camp for ages 8-18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 14, at Beaufort High School. Register online at ronparkerfootballcamp2018.eventbrite.com.
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