TORONTO -- The Toronto Argonauts Football Club is pleased to announce that one of the most accomplished defensive players in team history, DB Byron Parker, will sign a one day contract and retire as an Argonaut. Parker will be honoured by the club during Saturday's game at Rogers Centre against the Calgary Stampeders. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m.
Commented Byron Parker, "I would like to say a HUGE thank you to the Toronto Argonauts organization as well as the entire league for allowing me to be a part of the CFL family. I will be forever grateful for the relationships and friendships that I have formed over the past nine years."
Parker spent seven seasons in Double Blue after being signed as a free agent by the club in 2005. He played 85 regular season games and five (5) playoff games from 2005 to 2011 as an Argonaut. During his CFL career, Parker amassed 268 tackles, 30 interceptions and 12 touchdowns as a member of Toronto, Edmonton, BC and Montreal. He was also named a CFL Division and league-wide All-Star three times.
As an Argonaut, Parker was as exceptional in the secondary as he was versatile. He holds multiple team and league records including most touchdowns scored by interception in an Argos and CFL career (9), most touchdowns by interception in a season (4), third all-time in Argos history for Interception Return Yards (744), tied for most interception returns in a game and quarter (2), holds the single game record for most interception yards in a game (135) and holds the Argos and CFL single-season record for interception return yards (348). He also returned punts and kickoffs, and even scored a touchdown while lining up as a receiver on offence during trick play against Montreal!
Commented Argonauts General Manager, Jim Barker, "Byron Parker was a very athletic and instinctive football player, and quarterbacks always needed to be aware of where he was in the defence. He was not only dynamic to watch, but a man of great character. I had the opportunity to coach him in Toronto and he played an important role for us in helping to change and create a winning culture within our locker room. He will always be remembered as an Argonaut."
Argonauts Vice-Chair and Byron’s former coach, Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons, “Alongside Damon Allen, he’s probably the best athlete I’ve ever coached. He came to us a basketball standout and winner of an NCAA dunk competition, with football as a hobby. His skillset was unrefined but his talent was immense. As a defensive back we had to find a way to get him on the field. We played him at returner and he was so explosive we also included him on offence. As you know, he scored touchdowns in three different ways, the only thing that was bigger than his talent was his heart. I don’t often say this about a football player, but everybody loves Byron. He became a great contributor to our team chemistry, was loved by our fans and, fittingly, as of today, he will always be in Double Blue.”
Originally a basketball player while attending Tulane - he won the 2003 NCAA Slam Dunk competition with a dunk he called the "X-Factor" - his superior athleticism was noticed by the school's head football coach who recruited him to join the Green Wave football program as a sophomore. He played just two years of college football and signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2004) as an undrafted free agent. He also had stops in Dallas (2006) and Philadelphia (2009) as a player.
A Stoney Mountain, Georgia native, Parker now lives in Atlanta, Georgia where he coaches high school football and basketball.