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Jeremy Parquet, Steelers Offensive Lineman, 2007-2008

May 10, 2014
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First, can you tell readers about your post-NFL coaching career. How did you get started and what do you enjoy most about the job?

I’m now a mentor, educator and football coach in Texas. I’m an author now as well. My cousin was here coaching and when I retired I reached out to my family members for ideas for my next move and she responded. I’ve been here in Texas since 2011. It’s a great feeling to help a kid avoid some of the same mistakes I made growing up. Kids can sense sincerity and the gravitate towards it!

What coaches and coaching lessons do you find yourself falling back on now as a coach, and why?

I find myself to be more of a teacher than a coach, so I tend to pull from my own experiences as a player to teach the game. I’ve had so many good teachers and coaches throughout my career that it’s too hard to narrow it down. My rookie year I was with Will Shields in Kansas City and watching him work and picking his brain was awesome for me. I didn’t quite understand his motives at times as a 23 year-old, but now it makes sense and I appreciate him. He took me under his wing and taught me a lot! Helped me to understand why it was important to do things a certain way. (Get him in the Hall of Fame!!)

How did the NFL prepare you for a post-NFL career, and this job specifically?

The competition level to get to the NFL helped me tremendously when it came to preparing myself for the next phase of my career. As I stated earlier, I played with so many great players and men that helped me. Watching those guys juggle stardom and families while being some of the best to ever play the position was great to see.

Even though I wasn’t able to play as much as I would’ve liked to, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world! Football really prepared me for life and that’s what I’m most appreciative of. I’m 32 and playing the game for me has been over for three-plus years, but I have the rest of my life to live and pour into the younger generation.

You signed on with the Steelers in 2007 after having spent a few seasons with the Chiefs and Rams. What made you choose to sign on with the Steelers and how different was their offensive scheme versus the others you played in?

The day after St. Louis released me my agent called and said that the Steelers were going to sign me with no workout. I found that to be odd. Mike Tomlin was on the Buccaneers coaching staff when I played in the 2005 Senior Bowl. Upon my arrival to Pittsburgh, Mike T pulled me into his office and we had a real candid meeting about my career and what goals I had for myself. I needed and appreciated that because that was exactly what I needed to get going again!

The previous two organizations I played for were more pass-oriented but I learned how to run block effectively as a Steeler.

What veterans helped you adjust to the Steelers offense and organization, and how did they do so. Any examples?

Wow!!! This isn’t a fair question. I can say without reservation that everyone helped. It was a bit weird initially because other places I’d was the exact opposite. Other places you may have had two-to-three older guys trying to help but there EVERYONE genuinely offered to assist and that’s what separates the Steelers from every other organization I played for. It’s too many to list. I’ll just say everyone. They offered their time resources and most importantly food! We ate a lot “Together” while watching film or going over assignments.

After being in the league for a few years, how did you adjust to being a veteran and being responsible in part for mentoring young players coming into the league? Was it difficult mentoring younger players who were looking to take your playing time and roster spot?

Not at all. I know I wouldn’t have lasted the amount of time that I did last without the veterans mentoring and pouring into me. It wasn’t an adjustment at all for me. As I helped others I also sharpened my own sword. I believe that you cheat yourself by keeping knowledge bottled up! The beauty in it is helping others because not only are you doing your part to leave the game better than you found it but you are also pushing yourself to reach your full potential.

 Who were some of the toughest players you lined up against in practice and on game days, and what made them so?

Smaller guys and old crafty vets gave me the most trouble. Aaron Smith was a guy that taught me so much about myself as a player because he would tell me exactly what he looked to take advantage of and he also encouraged me a lot there. James Harrison is an absolute beast! He was hard to get a gauge on because of his body type and strength combined. He is probably her best defender I’ve ever faced.

You played for five professional teams across three leagues over the course of your seven-year career. What stands out most to you about your career and how difficult is for players who are often “on the bubble” and who are forced to move around from team to team as often as you have? How do you handle that consistent change and pressure?

I didn’t realize how blessed how was to play on as many teams as I did until I was forced to retire. As a competitor, we tend to get lost on the competing to be the best or be in the NFL that we don’t take the time to smell the roses. Would I have like to only play in NFL for 10-12 years? Sure, but I’ve learned so many life lessons and my kids have had the opportunity to see so many different parts of the world. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

It’s not until you look back on things that you appreciate them. I hated being away from my wife and kids but other than that I had a blast! I was fortunate to play a game for a long time and retire with a reasonable portion of my health and strength. My family is taken care of and that’s what’s important to me.

You were forced to retire in 2011 due to injury. How are you feeling now and what would you say to younger players today knowing how quickly a career can change/end?

I have my ups and downs with the headaches, loss of memory and my body aches. I like to keep things in proper perspective. I’ll be okay. Football is still the greatest sport EVER invented. I would tell the younger generation to understand that football is a game that’s meant to be played, but your life isn’t. Don’t allow anyone to make decisions for you when it comes to your body. Heed sound advice and make your decision from there, because you’re the one that’ll have to live with your decision! (literally) People love the game of football and if you’re blessed to reach the NFL it opens doors you’d never believe.

You played for five professional teams across three leagues over the course of your seven-year career. What stands out most to you about your career and how difficult is for players who are often “on the bubble” and who are forced to move around from team to team as often as you have? How do you handle that consistent change and pressure?

I didn’t realize how blessed how was to play on as many teams as I did until I was forced to retire. As a competitor, we tend to get lost in the competing to be the best or be in the NFL that we don’t take the time to smell the roses. Would I have like to play in NFL for 10-12 years? Sure, but I’ve learned so many life lessons and my kids have had the opportunity to see so many different parts of the world. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Sometimes, its not until you look back on things that you appreciate them. I hated being away from my wife and kids but other than that I had a blast! I was fortunate to play a game for a long time and retire with a reasonable portion of my health and strength. My family is taken care of and that’s what’s important to me.

Humor plays a big part in keeping teams loose. Who were some of the guys on the Steelers teams you played for that helped keep things light, and how did they do so? Any examples?

The Steelers had a lot of jokesters!! The Steelers locker room was a special place. No one took things too serious. We were all like brothers. If I miss anything about my career, it would be the Steelers locker room. The trash talking, the basketball games with paper into the trash can, to the daily news Mike Tomlin would report. Some of the best times in my life were there!!

Any last thoughts for readers

Thanks for taking the time to read a part of my story. God doesn’t make mistakes and without Him things don’t really make sense. I’m writing a book titled “Jeremy Parquet’s Devotional Playbook.” Be on the lookout for it. Jeremy Parquet Facebook fanpage and @JeremyParquet on twitter for updates. #SteelerNation!!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kenyatto Jones permalink
    May 14, 2014 9:20 pm

    Great interview session Jeremy. Very well said. Wish I could have witnessed your games in person. I think it’s great that you live to give back to the younger generation. Awesome bro.

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