PARKERSBURG - Injuries are part of football, but linebacker Terrell Parker of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers never had suffered a season-ending one before last weekend.
The former All-American at Glenville State College and the starting Will linebacker for the Blue Bombers tore his ACL this past Saturday during a Canadian Football League game in week three of the season.
"I have surgery on Thursday and my plan is to come back better than I was," stated Parker, who noted he's never had any serious injury from football before. "It happened in Hamilton against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. I just planted the wrong way and my knee gave out.
"I didn't think it was that bad, but I knew something was wrong. I asked for a knee brace to finish playing, but they wouldn't let me. I feel this injury will help me improve on other things I wasn't as good at and I can sit back and learn the mental part of the game until I'm cleared to work on the physical part."
Even though he didn't finish the third game of the season, Parker's 18 tackles were tops on the Blue Bombers to start the campaign. He opened the season with a team-high nine tackles and is tied for fourth in the CFL in total stops.
Last year, the ex-Pioneer latched on with Winnipeg and made the practice roster after preseason workouts. Parker then moved up to the active roster in week two and saw action in five games. Now, he's been placed on the nine-game injured list.
"I'm still on the team and I get paid my base salary, but no incentives," he added. "I will stay in Winnipeg until the season is done to rehab my knee and once it's over I will finish the rest of my rehab somewhere in the states."
After finishing his gridiron career at Glenville State, Parker moved on to Germany and had a stellar campaign in 2010 with the Assindia Cardinals. He took a year off in 2011 from football to complete his degree in business administration at GSC.
"It's been tough just because I was off to a great start and I've worked so hard to get where I'm at, but I just keep saying to myself things happen for a reason and hopefully my time will come again," explained Parker.
"I hope and pray for a full recovery and to be better than I've ever been. I feel like this is a test to see what I'm willing to go through to achieve my goals."
The Baltimore, Md., native admitted this is indeed a rough stretch for him on many fronts, but he's not going to let this totally derail his dreams.
"The CFL is pretty much Canada's NFL," Parker added. "It's been a great experience and it's the second best football league in the world. Being a pro athlete is a privilege. It's very nice flying around to different cities, having sold out games and fans actually knowing who you are.
"It's serious (business). As far as (one day making) the NFL, that's the last thing I'm worried about. If the opportunity comes I will take it, but I will be happy with playing my career in the CFL."