The Dallas linebacker also shared the story of his decision to go pro instead of return for his senior season with the Nittany Lions.
Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons recently joined The Hardline Ticketstock on 96.7 FM/1310 The Ticket [KTCK-AM] to talk football, how he came to wear jersey No. 11 and more. Here are some highlights, edited for length and clarity.
Micah Parsons: “I don’t really think about it too much, I’m more of a childhood favorite person. So like when I see Von Miller I be like, ‘Oh, that’s cool.’ But no one got me more excited than when I met Steve Urkel.
“I met him at the Fanatics party last year. And I saw some pretty famous people, but when I tell you I saw Steve Urkel, I just dropped everything. I started impersonating him. … Of course I walked up to him and said, “Did I do that?” …
“Family Matters was my favorite old-school show because it was like pure genuine comedy. Like, I genuinely know people out in the world and even some of my best friends are just that silly and clumsy like Steve. So it was my favorite. My friends aren’t that bad but they’re up there.”
On his transition from Penn State to the NFL…
Parsons: “I needed another year to explode. So my freshman year I was behind a senior. I slowly was working my way into the roster, slowly. I learned the playbook, so by the end of the year I wanted a job. … You gotta realize, when I got to college it was my first time playing linebacker, and especially under a system. I was always running back, edge. So I was learning the position I was in.
“I keep going, and then COVID hit. Then it was like, ‘Yeah, Micah, you’re gonna be a top 10 player in the draft.’ I said, ‘Well, see ya Penn State.’ …
“So, then I went to the pros and then I got to Dan Quinn and he was like, ‘You can blitz, right?’ And I told him I could and he was like, ‘Well, I’m going to line you up right here.’ … And then we did and I was dominating. Then we went to camp, he put me against some guys that walked on, I was crushing them. They put me against some backups, I was crushing them. They put me against Tyron Smith and I just felt like I hit a brick wall. I said, ‘Okay, we got work to do.’ But we had a base point, and that’s when I realized everyone’s not Tyron Smith. Because after that, I said let me go over here and I started working on winning. And then I got to the regular season, I just realized everyone was not, you know, Zach Martin or Tyron Smith and I was like, ‘Okay, this isn’t as hard as I thought.’”
Micah, why do you wear No. 11?
Parsons: “LaVar Arrington gave it to me. I was originally going to go to college and be like No. 23 and then LaVar was like, ‘Hey, I want to give you No. 11.’ Like, he passed it on to me. And no one had worn it since Brandon Bell and NaVorro Bowman, and I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll try No. 11.’ And then they gave me the name Sticks and it just stuck on me forever.”
Is it true Penn State offered you a scholarship in the middle of your freshman year of high school?
Parsons: “Yes. And it’s crazy how it happened. That’s God’s work. Because like I said, I’ve always been a running back. I’ve always been super talented and I was always raised that you never know when you’re going to touch the ball again so you got to score every time. So I was always a fighter, scrappy running back. Four carries, four touchdowns. That’s how I used to do it. Boom.
“And I went to a different school district and they were like, ‘Well we already have a running back.’ I was like, ‘I don’t care, I’m a running back too. I’m pretty sure I’m better than him.’ So they said, ‘We’ll either put you on JV and you can play running back or you can play varsity defense.’ I said I’d play JV running back, I’ll wait my turn. I’m going to bet on myself. When they saw me on defense they said, ‘You’re not playing JV, you’re going to play varsity.’
“ … I think the first six games I had like 10 sacks. I’m in ninth grade, dominating varsity football.”
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