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Great Dane signs NFL free agent contract

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By Aaron Cheris

Sports Editor

[email protected]

May 5, 2015

Parker made 39 catches last year. Photo from UAlbany Athletics.
Parker made 39 catches last year. Photo from UAlbany Athletics.

   Even though University at Albany tight end Brian Parker wasn’t one of the 256 players picked in the 2015 NFL Draft, he will still get the chance to live his dream.

   Following the conclusion of the NFL Draft on Saturday, Parker signed an undrafted free agent deal with the San Diego Chargers.

   Over his four years at UAlbany, Parker finished with 1,006 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. This past season, he made 39 catches for 500 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

   While the stats are nice, they don’t tell Parker’s whole story.

   “He really learned how to practice hard, which I think is something that in the NFL you really have to do,” UAlbany head coach Greg Gattuso said. “We talked to all the teams and we were able to tell them the type of kid he is, how hard he works, and what a team player he is.”

   Parker helped UAlbany win two straight Northeast Conference championships in 2011 and 2012. During the transition to the Colonial Athletic Association in 2013, Parker was a big target for quarterback Will Fiacchi. This past season, he was an integral part of a UAlbany team that won seven games.

   “There are not a lot of human beings that are 6-foot-4, 265 pounds that can run a 4.55 40 [yard dash],” Gattuso said. “I think the NFL scouts are excited about him.”

   Parker joins a Chargers team that features one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history, Antonio Gates. Gates, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, is currently the Chargers all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. Gates is likely to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame upon his retirement.

   Parker announced his signing on Twitter, saying:

   After finishing 9-7 last season, the Chargers first preseason game is on Thursday, August 13 at 10 p.m. against the Dallas Cowboys.

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