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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Parrish hopes to be answer in punt return game



It's been musical chairs for the Bucs when it comes to the punt return game, and veteran Roscoe Parrish hopes it finally stops with him.

Parrish, the former second-round pick of the Bills out of the University of Miami, was signed Tuesday and coach Greg Schiano said he'll return punts Sunday against the Redskins.

Parrish will be Tampa Bay's third punt returner in as many weeks, following Sammie Stroughter (who got injured) and Jordan Shipley (who got released Tuesday after fumbling a punt Sunday). Parrish is grateful for the opportunity, having been working out at home for the first three weeks of the season.

"It's a good opportunity," Parrish said. "I kind of felt what it's like to sit down and watch a game on Sunday is not a good feeling. Getting this opportunity is a blessing, and I'm trying to take advantage."

Parrish's career 12.0-yard average per attempt on punt returns since 2005 ranks second in that span behind Bears receiver Devin Hester (12.80). Parrish's average is the seventh-best in NFL history for players with 75 returns or more.

"I just got to put the offense in good field position and protect the ball - that's the key thing," Parrish said.

Schiano said punt returning might be the most difficult skill in football, with all the defenders running at you, and the way the ball is moving as it comes down.

"I've been doing it all my life, and I love it," Parrish said. "Just make plays, use my quickness, my speed. That's what I do."

Parrish got the call from the Bucs Monday, saying his weeks out of football "was very tough," and made him appreciate the game more. As he took the number - No. 12 - and locker left by Shipley, who was cut after one week (and one dropped punt), Parrish said that fact doesn't provide added pressure.
"It's a business," Parrish said. "When you're on the team and you have a role, you've got to take care of that and take advantage of your opportunity," Parrish said. "You don't want to be a robot back there and not make a mistake. You've got to do what you have to do, prepare and everything will take care of itself on Sunday."

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 4:00pm]


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