JACKSONVILLE – Parker Washington looked like he had been in a rainstorm as he walked from the sun- splashed fields at the Miller Electric Center early in Jaguars 2023 Training Camp. It didn't faze the rookie wide receiver from Penn State whose smile told the story as he walked toward the locker room with receiver mates Calvin Ridley, Zay Jones and Christian Kirk. He's thrilled to be in the NFL and even more excited to be in Jacksonville with those three, quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Head Coach Doug Pederson. You don't have to be an expert NFL analyst to know this team is headed somewhere special. Senior correspondent Brian Sexton recently caught up with a guy whose feet at least appear to be the equal of those three and whose upside seems particularly high in this offense.
Question: How has the transition from being a college student to a professional football player been for you?
Answer: I tell my mom and my sister each and every day, "It's just football now.' It's no class. My classroom is when we go in the meeting room. It's very fun. I'm enjoying it. I feel like I'm adjusting very well, and I'm just excited to keep going.
Q: Growing up in Houston, Texas, the heat and humidity is not foreign to you, but you haven't played in it for a while. How are you adjusting before practice, during practice, after practice? Do you need a towel?
A: I do. It's really hot and humid out here, especially after practice. Most of these days we've been running after. I've been trying to just up my tempo a little bit with that. Before we came in for camp, I was out there in Houston. Houston is very humid, so I was trying to do my best to get used to it. I feel like I'm going to adjust very well. I'm ready to go.
Q: You're working with Calvin, Christian and Zay. Tell me how they've been to you, what you've learned, what you think about getting to come into the NFL with a crew like that.
A: It's a blessing. I don't take that lightly every day. I'm learning from them. They're great players and they aren't holding anything back. They have an answer to every question I have and sometimes have something to tell me without me asking them. I appreciate that. I'm watching them really closely. I pick something up from them daily. And along with that, [wide receivers coach] Chad [Hall] does a really good job with all that and with teaching me, challenging me with stuff to work on each and every day. It's just a blessing to see those guys and be able to learn from them. You make yourself better when you are in a room with guys like that who challenge you.
Q: You come into an offense with Pederson and Lawrence that started to find its legs last year. I get the sense this is an offense where the sky is the limit. What do you see?
A: It's elite. All these guys communicate well. They're working together, they're getting on the same page daily. It's just exciting to be a part of that and see this and watch this growth. It's great to be a part of development as well. There's really no limit right now. If we stay positive and keep going, we're going to be really good.
Q: You're walking in at a time where the facilities have never been better. What's the Miller Electric Center been for you?
A: It's amazing. It's a blessing. I don't take it lightly coming in the building every day. If there's any trash on the floor or a towel left down, I'm going to pick it up, make sure and keep it clean. It's been really good and I'm excited to keep coming here.
Q: Tell me about the nutrition and the cold tub and how you take care of yourself every day so you can be out on the field making the most of your opportunities.
A: It's first things first with this profession. My job is to take care of my body. That's what it's all about. I need to be on my routine. I need to have my schedule real strict and dialed in and not cut any corners. It's a really great nutrition bar. The food is amazing, so plenty of options. On top of that, with the recovery, I'm just trying to get a feel for what it takes for me to feel good every day coming out here and get my routine with this new schedule I'm on. It's been really good and I'm just excited to continue to work on that.
Q: Final thought. You come into the NFL, your family comes along for the ride. Are you talking to them every day? Do they feel a part of this? Are they enjoying it?
A: It's amazing. My sister Ashton, she's with the Chicago Bears. She's a scout over there. She actually led the way for me. She beat me to it. I just had my mom here, helping me move into my new place. She's going to be a big part of all of this with me, helping me with everything I need. I'm a young 21-year old, so I'm just trying to figure it out. It's a different lifestyle and I'm just excited to embrace it.
Q: Has your sister the NFL scout shared her report on you? What was her evaluation of her brother?
A: No. She won't tell me anything, but we're really close. We talk every night and she's enjoying camp as well. She's done an amazing job of breaking into the scouting world, breaking glass ceilings and is really doing well in Chicago. We're all really proud of her and I hope I can make her proud of me, too.