Last year at training camp, Ken Parrish - a life-long Eagles fan from East Stroudsburg, Pa. - got to compete against Sav Rocca for the punter job.
Parrish was released during training camp and finished the preseason with the New York Jets before being let go once again prior to the start of the regular season.
On the eve of the post-draft mini-camp, the Eagles re-signed Parrish. The Eagles already had two punters on the roster in Rocca and Durant Brooks. Parrish was brought in to potentially compete to be the kickoff specialist this season.
Now, it looks like Parrish will also get a crack at being the punter as well after the Eagles released Brooks on Tuesday.
"You just have to keep worrying about you and what you can do on the field," Parrish said regarding Brooks' release. "You can't let that stuff get in your head or you'll already be out the door. You have to be positive. You have to think, 'I can win this.' If the opportunity comes to you, then you have to seize the moment."
Parrish has been in Brooks' place before and understands that he still has an uphill battle to climb if he wants to knock off Rocca, who has set the single-season franchise net punting record in back-to-back seasons. But as Parrish said, this is "Round 2" of his competition with Rocca. Parrish strongly believes in a motto that was passed down from his mentors - There is no victory without struggle.
With his punting ability harnessed, Parrish spent some time prior to re-joining the Eagles in Las Vegas at a kicking camp with former NFL specialists Louie Aguiar and Mike Husted focusing on how to do kickoffs.
"Last year was my first year of really going at it live and everything like that," Parrish said regarding kickoffs. "I'm just fine tuning everything every day and I'm trying to get better at it.
"Punting and kickoffs are two different swings. All different muscles and everything like that. I think that's why a lot of people get confused on it. I want to perfect what I can do at both of those positions."
When he would train, Parrish would only do one thing at a time so he could be ready for when a team called.
"It's all mental retention so when it's out there you're ready to unleash the leg and let it go," Parrish said.
Special teams coordinator Bobby April reviewed the film from last year's training camp and told Parrish that he thought he did well with the kickoffs. As a soccer player for 16 years, Parrish said that he thought he could transition to kickoffs if he ever had to.
The opportunity is here. But Parrish has to remember that Akers is more than a kicker when he's on the field. He's another football player and Parrish needs to match that intensity.
"I grew up watching the Eagles and I've been watching David Akers for a long time. I remember against the Giants when he got in the mix (on a tackle). He's got such good heart and passion for the game and if I can just take some of that and learn how to have that kind of passion on the field, it's good to watch him and pick up things from him."
Not that bringing someone down should be hard for Parrish. He was only a police officer with the Stroud Area before he focused on his NFL career.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 12:00 p.m., May 26