‘This Is the NFL:’ AJ Parker Not Letting up in Spite of Rookie Success

AJ Parker

Getty AJ Parker celebrates a 2021 interception.

The NFL, it is said, stands for “not for long,” meaning a player is always at a constant risk of losing their job to somebody else.

AJ Parker made the Detroit Lions in 2021 and ended up costing someone else a job, and that’s precisely the reason he isn’t planning on letting up in 2022. As he knows, nothing is guaranteed in the league, so he constantly has to prove himself no matter how solid his position on the team may seem.

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As Parker explained to the media speaking on Wednesday, June 9, in spite of playing a huge role for the team in 2021 as an undrafted free agent, he isn’t letting up this offseason in pursuit of a regular role.


Detroit Lions Media Availability: June 8, 2022 | AJ ParkerWatch Detroit Lions cornerback AJ Parker speak to the media June 8, 2022. Subscribe to the Lions YT Channel: bit.ly/2OABzdx More Lions NFL Action: bit.ly/2oxtfjX #DetroitLions #Lions #NFL Keep up-to-date on all things Lions: Visit detroitlions.com/ Follow: twitter.com/Lions Follow: instagram.com/detroitlionsnfl/ Like: facebook.com/DetroitLions2022-06-08T19:49:50Z

“This is the NFL man, your job’s really never safe so it’s always about getting better and working. That’s all I’m focused on is just trying to get better. Can’t afford (to let up),” he said.

At this point in time, Parker sees a big advantage in terms of his own expeirence. He knows the staff and the lay of the land, meaning there are no surprises.

“For me, the only difference right now is just experience,” he said. “I’ve been here for a year so I understand the schemes what the coaches want from me, just what I need to do to be successful, but the same mindset coming and you know fighting for a job.”

Understanding what his staff expects is also an advantage for Parker at this point in time, as he’s been around the block before.

“A lot more confidence just being here and already knowing what to expect and knowing like I said what the coach is expecting. It gives me a lot of confidence,” he admitted.

Locked in, it seems as if Parker isn’t resting on his laurels after a good 2021 season in the league even if he understands what’s coming.


Parker Focused on Improving Strength for 2022 Season

Last year, Parker played well when given a chance to impact the game. He managed to play in 13 games with 7 starts. Additionally, he put up 50 tackles, 7 passes defended, 1 forced fumble and 1 interception statistically. Parker did have some injury intervene at times, though, and he wants to make sure that doesn’t happen this coming season.

“Making sure I’m in the weight room and really putting weight on and putting muscle on so I could play all 17 games or 20 games or 25 games, however many games we were playing this year,” Parker admitted.

The goal is to play in more games, and Parker’s goal is to be physically ready for that grind. It seems like he is doing a nice job figuring out what he has to do in order to get to that point on his end of things.


Parker’s Career Stats & Highlights

Parker’s rise in the pros was quick with the Lions. In college playing for Kansas State, Parker put up very solid statistics for the Wildcats. In four full seasons, Parker collected 145 tackles, 6 interceptions, 17 passes defended and 1 touchdown. Those numbers were solid, but may not have caught much attention around the league in the pre-draft process, perhaps leading him to be overlooked over the weekend in 2021.

When watching the tape of his first season on the field in the league, Parker showed a great ability to adjust, which was very impressive for a rookie player:


AJ Parker 2021-2022 HighlightsI don't own the Pictures/Video/Music in this video. Song is: Baby Keem, Kendrick Lamar – Family Ties2022-01-28T18:55:34Z

Once he came to the Lions, Parker made an immediate difference right off the bat and made the roster. Now that he’s on the team, it’s clear he does not plan on letting up whatsoever and relinquishing his spot.

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