With all the focus understandably on Bills top wideout Stevie Johnson, who is set to become a free agent come March 13th, lost in the shuffle is elusive slot receiver and accomplished punt returner Roscoe Parrish. The seven-year vet also has a contract running out this offseason, but the club's call on bringing him back into the fold has yet to be decided.
Bills GM Buddy Nix was very candid in explaining that Parrish's last two seasons, which were cut short by season-ending injuries does raise some measure of concern.
"I think it's a decision that we're going to have to make about where he is physically as to whether or not we do re-sign him," said Nix. "He's a good player, a really good player when he's healthy. He's done it. We need somebody like that in that position whether it will be him or not I don't know yet."
Part of the reason the club doesn't have a clear answer on Parrish at this point is they likely have to see how much of a financial commitment will need to be made to re-sign Johnson. Add in the fact that Nix went on record saying they'd like to add another big wideout and the level of investment in the receiver position could quickly reach its limit.
Parrish has made it through a 16-game season just twice in his seven-year career in 2006 and 2007. The last two seasons he's missed 22 of the 32 regular season games. A dislocated wrist cost him the second half of the 2010 season and a severe ankle injury in Week 2 against the Raiders landed him on injured reserve this past fall.
Fully healthy since mid-December, Parrish, who finally feels he's part of an offense that matches his talents, welcomes a return to the Bills.
"I want to be here," he said. "I just want to play football and get the opportunity again. Of course Chan Gailey is a real offensive-minded guy, and it's unfortunate with Chan Gailey I've had injuries, but I'd love to be back here with Buffalo and continue to move forward."
What Parrish offers that not many in Buffalo's receiving corps currently possess is the ability to get quick separation, a key in the Bills quick-release timing attack. Johnson gets consistent separation with unconventional, but clever route running. Parrish is just blessed with rare speed and quickness.
Parrish has always been supremely confident in his abilities, but he also seems to understand that his future with Buffalo isn't necessarily up to him.
"You break the film down and you can see my return skills and what I can do in the slot," he said. "So I can bring that to a team. It's been unfortunate with the injuries, but it's up to them. We'll see what they're going to do."
The slot receiver may have to wait a while before he knows the direction the Bills choose to take with Johnson presumably the first order of business at the position. But Parrish is not going to agonize over it. "I just continue to do what I can do on my end. That's the only thing I can control," he said. "I know I have a lot more in the tank as a returner and a slot guy. Just stuff happened. Yeah I would love to be back here. I've been with this team my whole career. It's just up to them."