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Jones, Parkey Meet Legend Arnold Palmer

Posted Mar 7, 2015

Earlier this week, while Philadelphians were slogging through inches of sleet and snow, punter Donnie Jones and kicker Cody Parkey were taking in a few rounds of golf at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida.

And, you know, meeting golfing legend Arnold Palmer.

Not too shabby for the first week in March.

"If you read all the golf magazines, one of the bucket list items is to shake hands with Arnold Palmer," said Jones of meeting the seven-time major winner. "So that was really cool."

"He's a phenomenal golfer. I didn't get to see him in his prime, but anytime you can master a sport like he did I think you have to appreciate it," Parkey said.

The two special teams experts are big golf fans. In the offseason, weather permitting, Jones tries to golf four or five times a week. But he hasn't been able to golf that much this offseason by his home in Louisiana because of cold weather. Of course, for Jones, 50 degrees is cold right now. Wait until you get back to the City of Brotherly Love, Donnie.

But when he was in Orlando, he and Parkey were sporting short sleeves and basking in the Florida sun while they putted their way around Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Golf Course.

The trip to Bay Hill was a few months in the making, as it turns out.

During a practice this past season, a man named Howdy Giles - a Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania native and lifelong Eagles fan - was visiting the NovaCare Complex. He is a good friend of Palmer's, and wrote a book called The King And I about his friendship with the golfing legend. He also knows friends of Parkey's grandparents, who told Giles about the brilliant rookie kicker.

When Giles left NovaCare that afternoon, he told Jones, Parkey and long snapper Jon Dorenbos that he would send them copies of his book, which he did. They all kept in touch, and when the season ended, Giles sent Jones a text congratulating him on a good Week 17 win over the Giants and suggesting a golf outing in the offseason.

That trip finally materialized this week, when Jones and Parkey met up with Giles down in Orlando. And Palmer - who arrived a little later, and on Donald Trump's private helicopter, no less - greeted the Eagles duo after their round on his course to ask how they liked the set up.

Jones said the course was in great shape, and he and Parkey thanked Palmer with a midnight green Eagles jersey. The last name on the back read "Palmer" and sported the same "1" that Parkey wears during the season.

Who knows? Maybe Arnold Palmer would've made a great place kicker as well.

"He was very appreciative of the jersey Donnie got him with his name on it. He signed a few autographs for us, took a few pictures. He was a very, very nice and genuine guy. I was hoping his golf game would rub off on me after a picture, but unfortunately it didn't," said Parkey, who has a hole-in-one on his golfing résumé.

"Well, Cody hadn't played in a while and I've been playing a lot," Jones said modestly. "We were obviously just playing for fun, but I would say I had the upper hand there."

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