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Safety Will Parks ‘overwhelmed’ with fan support in return to Denver

Broncos safety played with team from 2016-19
Justin Simmons (left) and Will Parks at UC Health Training Center in Englewood, CO
Justin Simmons (left) and Will Parks at UC Health Training Center in Englewood, CO(other)
Published: Dec. 10, 2020 at 12:35 AM MST
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (KKTV) - In a whirlwind year for everyone, the chaos of 2020 didn’t miss newly reinstated Bronco Will Parks.

“Highs and lows,” Parks said about his last week. The 26-year-old was released by his hometown team, the Philadelphia Eagles, in his first season back on the east coast. Just days later, the Broncos were the first to claim him on waivers. The Mile High fan favorite was back.

Obviously, when I received a phone call from my agent that I was coming back to Denver, I was like, ‘Oh sh-- snap’... excuse my language,” Parks said smiling on a Zoom call Wednesday.

“It was just exciting to get that phone call,” Parks said. “I’ve been in communication with a lot of these guys all year. I never left the group chat ... they never kicked me out of the group chat ... and stuff like that. They always sent me, like, little clips of my film from last year. So, just that ‘we need you’ kind of feeling, that’s awesome.”

The Broncos, more than ever, need a defensive back. Their top three cornerbacks are all out for the rest of the season. Bryce Callahan (foot) and Essang Bassey (knee) are both on injured reserve, while A.J. Bouye was suspended the final four games of 2020 for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

Parks said he was in contact with head coach Vic Fangio early in the moving process, understanding his role could be fluid and all-encompassing in his return to Denver.

“I feel like I haven’t missed a beat,” Parks said. “Obviously, there’s always going to be two or three wrinkles that a defense or a scheme has within themselves. But the terminology factor kind of clicked in already—the plays and how we can still use the plays that are kind of clicking already. So, when that happens, that means that a lot of my recall information hasn’t really gone far at all.”

Parks is well-accustomed to the Broncos defensive scheme. He was a 6th round draft pick by Denver in 2016, and played in all but two games over his first four seasons. Parks racked up 13 pass deflections, four interceptions, and two forced fumbles in that time. The Broncos, unwilling to sign Parks to a long-term deal, released him following the 2019 season.

Parks will also be reunited with one of his closest friends on the field, fellow 2016 draft pick Justin Simmons.

“This is a guy I came in with and spent a lot of time with,” Simmons said when hearing about Parks returning. “Unfortunate what happened in Philly, but selfishly, I’m really happy he’s back here and having the opportunity to close out the season with us. He’s a great player, and more importantly and selfishly for me, he’s and even better friend.”

Being forced from Philadelphia, Parks’s hometown, back to Denver likely wasn’t an easy trip. But Parks said he was overwhelmed with the support Broncos Country gave him following his announcement back to the Mile High city.

My phone actually went dead the first day that everybody found out,” Parks said. “...just notifications and text messages and the relationships from people that I met out here that I sustained. I was overwhelmed with it, obviously. I was happy. I was just like, ‘Dang, I didn’t know people could miss you and love you like that.’

“Obviously, love is pretty big in my heart. But for a fan base like this one to continue to have that love, it was pretty awesome. I was ecstatic.”

Once Parks passes COVID-19 protocol, he will rejoin a 4-8 Broncos team well outside the playoff picture. Denver will travel to the Carolina Panthers for week 14. Kickoff is at 11 a.m.

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