Even as football took him from College Station, TX to the NFL, CFL and AFL, former Texas A&M running back Sirr Parker never had his native Los Angeles far from his mind.
When his playing career wrapped up in 2006, Parker returned to Southern California to fulfill a promise he had made to himself in high school: Devote his life to mentoring at-risk youths.
“I come from the same type of situation,” Parker said in a March 2010 Los Angeles Times profile, “so I’m speaking from experience as opposed to just repeating something I heard.”
Before setting foot on Texas A&M’s campus, Parker endured a rough childhood in South Central with an absentee father and a substance-abusing mother. But with the support of his grandmother and others, Parker became a star at Locke High School as well as the homecoming king and an honor roll student.
Parker’s story was so inspiring that Showtime turned it into a biopic, They Call Me Sirr, which first aired in 2001.
With the Aggies, Parker rushed for 20 touchdowns and over 2,000 yards, but it was a reception that fans best remember him by. Facing undefeated and No. 2 Kansas State in the 1998 Big 12 title game, Parker sent A&M to a 36–33 upset win on a 32-yard touchdown catch in overtime (below).
Parker was a member of the Chargers, Panthers and Bengals from 1999 to 2000 before spending two seasons each in the CFL and AFL, with his last pro season coming in 2004.
Texas A&M travels to Mississippi State this Saturday. Sirr Parker profile