DAVIE–It’s been another season of the Dolphins wondering what exactly they have in wide receiver DeVante Parker.
Much like his rookie year, it’s been an up-and-down ride with injuries for him. He missed time in the fall and sat out the opener with a hamstring issue that lingered long into the season and possibly still affects him. He’s also had back problems from a hit he took against the 49ers.
“You just learn to fight through it,” he said of playing hurt. “At first you don’t think you can do it, but you just go along with it and get over it… I think I’ve had a pretty good season. The injuries are the only thing that’s held me back. Other than that, I think I’ve had a productive season.”
Parker caught 47 passes for 614 yards, well ahead of last year’s numbers, and has three touchdowns. He estimates he has played at full health maybe twice this season.
The last few weeks, however, he’s been mostly a non-factor. He has nine catches (never more than three in a game) and 129 yards total over the past four games, a lull he attributes to is health.
“I would say yeah, I’m not able to run how I want to,” he said. “I’m just a little worried about opening it up all the way. But now I’m feeling much better.”
When asked to explain his fear of “opening it up,” meaning running at top speed, he described the issue as a mental block.
Parker was the No. 14 pick in last year’s draft, but has encountered one injury after another since getting picked. The upside for Miami is that it has him under contract cheaply the next three seasons, so it won’t cost much to see if he can become a consistent contributor.
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