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Giants' Preston Parker a lesson in NFL perseverance

Giants wide receiver Preston Parker makes a catch

Giants wide receiver Preston Parker makes a catch during training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J. on Sunday, July 27, 2014. Credit: Brad Penner

Where was Preston Parker a year ago at this time?

"Begging for money," he said. "Trying to find a job."

Where he wasn't was in the NFL.

Cut by the Saints at the end of 2013 training camp, the wide receiver had no suitors in the football business. It wasn't until the season was over that Parker signed with the Giants as a free agent. Now, on Sunday, he could wind up being a pretty important cog in the team's attempt to find success on the field.

Parker will step in for Jerrel Jernigan as the third wide receiver, playing on the outside opposite Rueben Randle with Victor Cruz in the slot when the team goes to multiple-receiver looks.

With Jernigan on injured reserve and first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. still sidelined with a hamstring injury, Parker is the most experienced option the Giants have. Rookie Corey Washington and Julian Talley, just called up from the practice squad, are the others.

"He's been in the league," Tom Coughlin said of Parker, who totaled 44 receptions for the Bucs from 2010-12. "He's very quick, you saw him the other day . . . He's played before, he's got a good attitude about it, he is a tough guy, and hopefully he'll make a strong contribution."

Parker will be one of two Giants offensive players who were not in the league last year. Tight end Daniel Fells, who caught a touchdown Sunday against the Cardinals, also was out of a job. Fells was starting to explore opportunities in business before the Giants signed him this offseason.

Parker, 27, said he never had a thought his playing days were behind him.

"Don't stop until it's over, until you really know you can't get on a team or you feel like you're too old," he said. "Whatever it is, when you feel like it's time to stop, stop. But if there's a slight chance, a one-percent chance, keep trying, keep pushing, because somebody can call you."

Until they did, Parker was home in Florida building tiki huts. His father's girlfriend got him the job. He said it took about a week to build each one, bolting the beams together and assembling the buildings.

"It was hard," he said. "It wasn't easy."

He's not doing that this year.

"I have an opportunity," he said. "I just have to attack it."

New York Sports