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Cowboys’ Micah Parsons extra-motivated for playoffs: ‘I’m going to be phenomenal’

Cowboys’ Micah Parsons extra-motivated for playoffs: ‘I’m going to be phenomenal’

Cowboys fans tuning in this Sunday to see the team’s postseason journey begin might find themselves a little confused at first. The TV guide may say “Cowboys vs. Packers,” but what’s playing out on the screen could very well look like an episode of Wild Kingdom at AT&T Stadium.

Because Micah Parsons just might eat an opposing player right there on the field.

The third-year edge rusher certainly has no shortage of motivation as the team heads into the wild-card round. Any one of these factors all by itself is enough to put Green Bay’s offensive linemen on the endangered species list, but put them all together, and the lion is primed to feast.

First, consider the NFLPA All-Pro list, which came out Wednesday. This roster, voted on by the league’s players themselves, put Myles Garrett and Maxx Crosby at edge rusher, despite the fact that Parsons had a higher overall grade, a higher pass rush grade, more quarterback hits, and more quarterback hurries than the Raiders great.

Parsons brushed off the slight, saying it didn’t bother him.

“If you look at some of the names on there, you can just tell people are just writing down names,” he explained. “So it’s not something that really matters, at least to players.”

Maybe. But then the job interview requests kept flooding in for his defensive coordinator. By midweek, Dan Quinn had the Panthers, Commanders, Chargers, and Titans officially courting him, and he was informally the leading candidate to take over in Seattle, where he spent several highly successful seasons a decade ago.

Parsons and Quinn came to Dallas within months of each other in 2021, with the first-round draft pick speaking of Quinn as almost a father figure more than a coach. So there’s extra urgency for Parsons to make this Cowboys postseason trip count, in case Quinn leaves.

“He means a lot to me because it’s not just about football,” Parsons said. “It could possibly be my last ride with Q. And if it is, we’re going to make sure it’s a damn good one.”

And now there’s the All-Pro Team. Friday saw the Associated Press release its list of 2023 honorees, and Parsons has missed making the first team for the first time in his short career. Garrett and T.J. Watt took those first-team edge rusher spots this year; Parsons and Crosby were relegated to the second team.

For the ultra-competitive Parsons, that likely won’t sit well. We’re talking about a guy who takes it as a personal affront when he’s not the best at anything, be it “Madden” or chess or locker-room hamper-basketball or sparring in the gym.

When Parsons showed up at the charity home run derby and found out the softball bats in the dugout were of the community-use variety, he famously sent someone to a nearby sporting goods store to buy him the best aluminum dinger-stick in stock.

He practically pulled something at the Pro Bowl in a 40-yard sprint-off with a casually coasting Tyreek Hill just for the bragging rights to say he beat The Cheetah.

Parsons can say none of it bothers him. Sure, Jan.

Or is it more likely that he’ll take the field this Sunday feeling like he still has plenty to prove to a few people?

Former Cowboys wide receiver and current Hanging’ With the Boys host Jesse Holley thinks it may start with Packers left tackle Rasheed Walker.

“He has no anchor. He’s not a nasty left tackle,” Holley said during the show this week. “Micah Parsons is going to abuse him.”

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If that’s what it takes to throw a few more sacks on the 14 Parsons amassed during the regular schedule, so be it. Because all those stats and everything it took just to get into the dance are one thing, but after a year where Parsons watched part-time mentor DeMarcus Ware attain football immortality in both the Hall of Fame and the Cowboys Ring of Honor, Parsons has more on his mind than regular-season accomplishments.

“The regular season is cute. But this is legacy. … ‘Be phenomenal or be forgotten.'”

That’s what Parsons said following the Week 18 game.

Now, snubbed for two different all-star squads, faced with possibly losing his defensive mentor, and on the precipice of Wild Card Weekend, he’s calling his shot.

“I’m going to be phenomenal,” he said. “[Expletive] phenomenal.”

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire