Cody Parkey lives out of a suitcase in a hotel near the NovaCare Complex. His life has changed dramatically in the last two weeks. After a couple of more performances like he had last Thursday in the preseason finale, Parkey might even go out and buy some extra socks.
Signed by the Indianapolis Colts in the spring, Parkey teamed with Adam Vinatieri through the spring and much of the summer before his phone rang and he was informed that, gulp, a trade had gone down: Parkey was moving to Philadelphia, and he had all of one day to get ready for a preseason game against the Steelers.
That was nearly two weeks ago. In the time since, Parkey's world has turned upside down for all of the right reasons. He reported to Philadelphia and got right to work, kicking the ball solidly in practice and stepping up to the challenge in the preseason finale with three field goals, including successes from 54 and 53 yards, kicking off well and ultimately winning the placekicking job for the Philadelphia Eagles.
And on Sunday, No. 1 is the kicker. The kid from Jupiter, Fla. by way of Auburn plus a hiccup with the Colts is an Eagle and in the most pressure-filled situation of his life.
Not that he's showing it. Parkey is chill, and clearly the nerves are stable, witness the performance with a job on the line against the Jets.
"I worked hard for this. I'm not very surprised. I think I did a good job stepping in here," said Parkey. "I'm continuing to grow as a person and as a football player. This is just the beginning, I feel like."
Parkey said he was "super excited" when special teams coordinator Dave Fipp called him over the weekend to tell him that Parkey was on the roster, was the Eagles' kicker and there was no looking back.
There are also no guarantees, and that's just the nature of the game. Parkey worked his way up the depth chart at Auburn, starting as a kickoff specialist and then becoming the full-time placekicker. He had a fine career there, won a BCS National Championship, and has kept everything together in the cauldron of the NFL's craziness.
He acted as a sponge during his time working with Vinatieri, a 19-year veteran, and absorbed as much wisdom as possible. "Hit it the same every time," is what resonates, whether Parkey is kicking a PAT or a 50-yard field goal. "Be solid," and keep the mechanics the same and the mindset exceedingly positive.
Parkey arrived in Philadelphia and, let's be honest, how many really thought he had the mettle to win the job from Alex Henery, a three-year veteran who has converted more than 85 percent of his field goal attempts in the NFL?
Parkey did, and that's all that matters.
"When I came to Philly, my mindset was, 'I'm bringing all my stuff, cause I'm not leaving. I'm going to give them every reason to keep me.' I just have a suitcase full of stuff," he said, "so I'm going to have to go buy some more clothes."
Parkey is "currently in the market for an apartment" but he knows the nature of the job is to be on edge. Auburn recruited the best of the best kickers, and competition was always open. That's the way the NFL works, too. Parkey doesn't have any long-term guarantees. He knows his job is being evaluated every time he swings his right leg.
And as the young 'uns say, he's living the dream right now. Except that it's a reality. Cody Parkey is the Eagles' placekicker on Sunday when the team opens its 2014 season against Jacksonville in front of a rabid crowd of more than 69,000 at Lincoln Financial Field. It could be windy, or warm, or rainy that day. There is no dome here. The weather is unpredictable.
Parkey is doing his homework. He's ready for the challenge of taking his next step.
"I'm just working on being a better kicker every day, literally," he says. "That's all I can do. I'm enjoying it and I'm glad to be here and honored. I've worked extremely hard to reach this point and the hard work is going to continue."