Chiefs fans didn’t get to see Brian Parker in action until the victory over the Lions last week. Parker, an undrafted tight end from the University of Albany, signed with the Chargers and, after getting cut, figured to wind up on their practice squad. But the Chiefs claimed him off waivers after the preseason.
Parker was on the inactive list for the season’s first seven games as the Chiefs went with James O’Shaughnessy as the third tight end joining Travis Kelce and Demetrius Harris.
But O’Shaughnessy, a rookie out of Illinois State, was on the inactive list for the Lions, and Parker got his opportunity.
He made the most of it.
Parker came up with key blocks that led to touchdowns in the 45-10 victory, including the lead block that paved the way to De’Anthony Thomas’ 10-yard run for the Chiefs’ first score.
“Going out for your first game, it’s hard to be perfect,” Parker said. “But I had some good blocks, lost a couple of toward the end of blocks, but that’s going to happen. I did pretty well overall for my first time.”
Parker, the third player from Albany to take a snap in a regular-season game, didn’t catch a pass last week but said he’s happy with his role.
“I’ve always taken pride in being physical,” Parker said. “Football is a physical game; you don’t want to get beat on any play, especially (against) a guy who thinks he’s tough and stronger than you.”
Tight end coach Tom Melvin said Parker’s inactive status was a matter of growing accustomed to the system.
“He’s been learning the offense as we go,” Melvin said. “He’s a rookie, just like James is, so the two of them are kind of feeling their way through. He’s a little bit more of a primary blocker, as opposed to James, who is more of a primary route-runner type.
“He kind of fit into what the game plan was going to be, so we thought we needed to see him in live action. That was a good time to do it.”