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Preston Parker continues strong bid to make Giants roster

Preston Parker was out of the NFL last season. The four-year veteran is making a strong bid for a roster spot with the Giants, and was impressive on Friday night.

Preston Parker (left) celebrates his touchdown Friday with Mario Manningham
Preston Parker (left) celebrates his touchdown Friday with Mario Manningham
Rich Schultz

Corey Washington has been a touchdown machine for the New York Giants during the preseason, justifiably generating tons of excitement with TD grabs in every preseason game thus far. Three of those were game-winners, of course, and he nearly had a fourth game-winner Friday night vs. the New York Jets.

Marcus Harris has generated buzz not only because of his solid play at both wide receiver and on special teams, but because of his association with former New York Knicks great Walt 'Clyde' Frazier.

While the two youngsters have been getting most of the attention in the competition for reserve wide receiver spots, four-year veteran Preston Parker has been flying under the radar.

Parker stepped into the spotlight Friday night, however, with an impressive 39-yard touchdown catch and a 29-yard kickoff return that nearly went much further.

Parker, who caught 40 passes, returned 23 punts and 20 kickoffs for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 2011 season, had been steady but unspectacular before Friday night's pair of big plays.

"We all want to make plays. That's why we come out here. That's what we practice for: to come out in the big games and make plays," Parker said after the game. "Everybody is trying hard. When their name is called, that's what we try to do - make plays and just go out there and do your best."

Friday's injury to Harris, which could sideline him for several weeks and cost him a roster spot, could open the door for Parker.

Parker is in the mix with Washington, Harris, Mario Manningham and Julian Talley for one of the final wide receiver spots on the 53-man roster. He has eight receptions this preseason, third on the team behind Harris and Washington who have nine apiece. Parker has averaged 7.3 yards on eight punt returns with a 20+ yard return vs. the Indianapolis Colts wiped out by penalty. He has a 21.3-yard average on four kickoff returns. Parker has handled the ball cleanly on kickoff and punt returns throughout the preseason.

After three seasons with the Buccaneers, the 27-year-old Parker was out of the NFL last season.

"Everybody out here is trying to resuscitate their careers," Parker said. "That's what we're all trying to do. Just trying to continue and try to live life as a football player as long as we can."

With the Giants still sorting through their options behind Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan, and with first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. still unable to play due to his hamstring issues, Parker might be on his way to earning a chance to continue living that NFL life with the Giants.