The Bears seem pretty content right now with their pairing of Kevin Payne and rookie Al Afalava at safety but there is an ex-Bear out there interested in helping. Tony Parrish signed a contract with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League and is trying to resurrect his career at 33 and after sitting out the last two seasons.
``I want people to notice me,'' Parrish said. ``I'm playing to get back in the NFL. I'm playing for the love of the game.''
It's certainly not for money. Parrish will make $35,000 in the fledgling UFL, which opens training camps next week. He left the Bears after the 2001 season and went on to become an
Pro Bowl all-pro performer in San Francisco. He broke his ankle and fibula playing vs. the Bears in 2005 and wasn't the same the next season when he split time between the Niners and Dallas Cowboys.
``I've been really ready for more than a year now,'' he said. ``I wasn't the same after the broken leg but I'm back now. I still haven't quenched my thirst for football.''
The Bears had 11 starters headed to some form of free agency--unrestricted or restricted--when general manager Jerry Angelo was hired in June 2001. He literally had a few months to construct a plan for the future and one of the decisions made was to let Parrish leave as a UFA. The Bears had Mike Brown in his second season and believed him to be a building block for the future at the position, but while they were paired together, they were outstanding.
Agent Joel Segal landed Parrish a $12 million, five-year contract to sign with San Francisco in 2002. It was near top money at the time, and Parrish flourished there, making a Pro Bowl as he proved to have better coverage skills than anyone anticipated. Parrish cashed in but it's not money he's after, he wants to return to the game.