Saturday, July 15, 2017

Babe Parilli, 1930-2017



Former NFL QB Babe Parilli dies

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE
July 15, 2017

Vito “Babe” Parilli, a native son of Rochester, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, and a member of the NFL’s All-Decade team for 1960, died Saturday at age 87. His highlight reel would come out of New England, where he played for the then-Boston Patriots from 1961-67, but before then, he made many stops along the way during his 15-year NFL and AFL career. He also spent a season as an assistant coach for Chuck Noll as the Steelers quarterbacks coach in 1973.

The Green Bay Packers drafted him out of the University of Kentucky in 1952. His total time in Green Bay spanned 1952-1953, and 1957-1958. He later played for the Cleveland Browns and the Oakland Raiders, throwing for more than 25,000 yards in a career that included two stints in the Canadian Football League with the Ottawa Rough Riders. In his late 30s, Mr. Parilli was traded to the New York Jets, giving the 1969 Super Bowl champions two quarterbacks from Beaver County — Mr. Parilli as backup to Joe Namath, who told the Post-Gazette two years ago that Mr. Parilli had been his boyhood idol. “I can remember walking past the Army Navy store on my way home to lunch when I was in the fourth or fifth grade and checking out that Hutch helmet with Babe’s autograph on it,” Mr. Namath said.

Mr. Parilli was an All-American and two-time Heisman Trophy finalist while playing for Bear Bryant at Kentucky in 1950 and 1951.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2003:

Babe Parilli had yet to take a snap for Vince Lombardi. But the Green Bay quarterback already had a hunch things probably wouldn't work out. Parilli, Green Bay's first-round selection in 1952 and a member of the Packers for four seasons between 1952-'58, went golfing with his new coach before the 1959 campaign. On that day, Parilli made one gigantic mistake: He beat Lombardi.

“We were only playing for a dollar,” the 74-year-old Parilli, who's now retired and living in Denver, said Monday. “But afterwards, he threw the dollar at me and said, ‘That's the last dollar you'll ever make from me.’ And before the season started, he cut me.”

Parilli admits there were other factors involved, most notably a young quarterback on the roster named Bart Starr. But if anything, it allowed Parilli the opportunity to go elsewhere and flourish. And that he most certainly did, moving to the American Football League and quarterbacking Oakland, Boston and the New York Jets between 1960-'69.

By the time Parilli's career was finished, he had thrown for nearly 23,000 yards and 178 touchdowns, highlighted by the 1964 season in which he threw for 3,465 yards and 31 touchdowns for the Boston Patriots. “I had a good career,” Parilli said. “It was a good run.” Parilli wouldn't have minded if his run in Green Bay had lasted longer.

In his rookie season in Green Bay, he threw for 1,416 yards along with 13 touchdowns and 17 interceptions as the Packers went 6-6. The following year, Parilli threw just four touchdowns vs. 19 interceptions and Green Bay dipped to 2-9-1. Afterward, Parilli left to fulfill an Air Force commitment and Packers head coach Gene Ronzani left after he was told not to return. “I loved Gene,” said Parilli, who wore three different uniform numbers (10, 15 and 16) during his time in Green Bay. “I think Gene would have been great in today's game because the players loved him. We just didn't have any talent.”

Parilli was traded to Cleveland and played there in 1956. He returned to Green Bay in 1957 and had some shining moments in a Packer uniform. He threw the first touchdown pass in the new City Stadium (later named Lambeau Field) to Gary Knafelc in 1957. And in 1958, he outperformed Starr, throwing for 10 touchdowns and 1,068 yards.

Parilli also sensed the Packers were beginning to put together a foundation for future successes. Although Green Bay went 4-19-1 under Lisle Blackbourn and Scooter McLean in 1957-'58, several of the key cogs who would produce five world championships in seven years were being acquired. And Parilli felt Lombardi was walking into an awfully good situation. “It was hard back then to build a team,” Parilli said. “Today, you've got free agency. But back then, it took time for your talent to come around. And I really thought (Lombardi) came into a good thing. He made some good moves, but he also came into a good situation.”

Parilli could also tell his situation in Green Bay wasn't a particularly solid one. Although Parilli quarterbacked Lombardi's first victory — a 24-17 pre-season triumph at San Francisco in 1959 — he could tell he was squarely in Lombardi's doghouse. “He was kind of a sore loser like all of us were, I guess,” Parilli said of Lombardi. “I remember a game where we came down on the opening drive and got to about the 10-yard line. I took a timeout and went and asked him what to do. And he never called a play. He said, ‘Run it, throw it, whatever.’ I went back to the huddle and (Paul) Hornung asked me, ‘What'd he say?’ And I said, ‘You're going to get the ball and run it into the end zone.’ And that's what he did. He scored on the play.”

Maybe that was the first indicator that Parilli had a future in coaching himself.

When he retired from the game following the 1969 season, he began an extremely successful coaching career. Parilli served as the quarterbacks coach for Pittsburgh and Terry Bradshaw in 1972-'73, he was the quarterbacks coach for Denver in 1977 when the Broncos went to the Super Bowl and he later tutored Steve Grogan in New England.

Parilli was also a head coach in the World Football League in 1974-'75 and a head coach in the Arena Football League from 1981-'93.

“I think the year we went to the Super Bowl in Denver was probably the highlight,” said Parilli, who worked with the Broncos from 1977-'79 and has lived in Denver ever since. “I had a great time in Pittsburgh working with Bradshaw, and I really enjoyed the Arena League. But by the time I was done, I had been in six leagues as a player and a coach. I had had my fill.”

Despite his untimely golfing victory over Lombardi, Parilli has never gotten his fill of Green Bay. He returns every year for Alumni Weekend, stays in touch with several of his former teammates and looks back fondly on his time in the NFL's smallest city. “I loved my years there,” he said. "Every year when I go back, I stop and look at the old house I used to live in. Green Bay was good to me.”

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Offseason Update — Pre-Camp


Updated when transactions occur

2017 DRAFT PICKS
ROUND 2 (33)   CB Kevin King* • 6’-3” • 200 lbs. • Washington
ROUND 2 (60)   S Josh Jones* • 6’-1” • 220 lbs. • N.C. State
ROUND 3 (93)   DT Montravius Adams* • 6’-4” • 304 • Auburn
ROUND 4 (108) LB Vince Biegel* • 6'3" • 246 lbs. • Wisconsin
ROUND 4 (134) RB Jamaal Williams* • 6’-0” • 212 lbs. • BYU
ROUND 5 (175) WR DeAngelo Yancey* • 6’-2” • 201 lbs. • Purdue
ROUND 5 (182) RB Aaron Jones* • 5’-9” • 208 lbs. • Texas-El Paso
ROUND 6 (212) OL Kofi Amichia* • 6’-4” • 297 lbs. • South Florida
ROUND 7 (238) RB Devante Mays* • 5’-11” • 230 lbs. • Utah State
ROUND 7 (247) WR Malachi Dupre* • 6’-2” • 196 lbs. • LSU
*Contract Signed

UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS SIGNED:
WR Montay Crockett • 5'-11-1/2" • 190 lbs. • Georgia Southern
WR-TE Aaron Peck • 6'-2-1/2" • 239 lbs. • Fresno State
C Thomas Evans • 6'-3" • 305 lbs. • Richmond
G Geoff Gray • 6'-5-1/2" • 315 lbs. • Manitoba
G Adam Pankey • 6'-4-1/2" • 307 lbs. • West Virginia
T Christian Schneider • 6'-5-1/2" • 301 lbs. • California-Davis
QB Taysom Hill • 6'-2" • 221 lbs. • Brigham Young
DT Izaah Lunsford • 6'-3" • 310 lbs. • Bowling Green
FB-ILB Cody Heiman • 6'-1-1/2" • 229 lbs. • Washburn
OLB Johnathan Calvin • 6-3, 266 lbs. • Mississippi State
CB Donatello Brown • 5'-11-1/2" • 189 lbs. • Valdosta State
CB Lenzy Pipkins • 6'-0" • 196 lbs. • Oklahoma State
P Justin Vogel • 6'-4" • 212 lbs. • Miami
RB Kalif Phillips • 5’-9-1⁄2” • 218 lbs. • UNC-Charlotte
LB Josh Letuligasenoa • 6'-1" • 252 lbs. • Cal Poly
CB Raysean Pringle • 6'-0" • 191 lbs. • Southern Utah
RB William Stanback  6'-0" • 231 lbs. • Virginia Union
LB David Talley • 6'-1" • 236 lbs. • Grand Valley State
S Aaron Taylor • 5'-11" • 206 lbs. • Ball State
WR Michael Clark  6'-6" • 217 lbs. • Marshall
LB Cody Heiman • 6'-2" • 229 lbs. Washburn
WR Colby Pearson • 6'-0" • 194 lbs. • Brigham Young
T Robert Leff • 6'-5" • 302 lbs. • Auburn
CB Daquan Holmes • 5'-11" • 187 lbs. • American International

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS SIGNED:
OLB Nick Perry: Five-years/$59M
OL Don Barclay: One-year/$1.025M
OLB Jayrone Elliott: One-year/$1.6M
OLB Jordan Tripp: One-year/$690,000
P Jacob Schum: One-year/$615,000
TE Martellus Bennett: Three-years/$21M
TE Lance Kendricks: Two-years/$4M
CB Davon House: One-year/$2.8M
DL Ricky Jean Francois: One-year/$2M
G Jahri Evans: One-year/$2.25M

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS SIGNED:
ILB Joe Thomas: One-year/$650,000
DT Christian Ringo: Two-years/$990,000
WR Geronimo Allison: Two-years/$990,000
FB Joe Kerridge: Two-years/$990,000

RESERVED/FUTURE SIGNED:
LB Reggie Gilbert
WR Antwan Goodley
LB Derrick Mathews
G Lucas Patrick
DT Brian Price
TE Beau Sandland
S Jermaine Whitehead

SIGNED FROM WAIVERS/STREET:
LS Derek Hart: Undrafted in 2015
G Justin McCray: Street free agent
DT Ego Ferguson: From Chicago Bears (released; failed physical)

LEFT GREEN BAY:
OLB Datone Jones: To Minnesota Vikings
RB Eddie Lacy: To Seattle Seahawks
G T.J. Lang: To Detroit Lions
TE Jared Cook: To Oakland Raiders
OLB Julius Peppers: To Carolina Panthers
DB Micah Hyde: To Buffalo Bills
C J.C. Tretter: To Cleveland Browns

UNSIGNED:
LS  Brett Goode
RB John Crockett

RELEASED:
DT Mike Pennel
RB James Starks
CB Sam Shields
CB Makinton Dorleant
RB Don Jackson
RB Christine Michael
P Jacob Schum