Roy Exum: Thoughts From A ‘Goat’

Monday, January 14, 2019 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum
This was the first weekend of the NFL’s post season that the Chicago Bears were forced to sit instead of stand, and the so-called proclivities of modern-day society had nothing to do with it. No, the Bears had contained the Eagles two weeks ago until late in the game when, with only 54 seconds left on the clock, Eagles quarterback Nick Foltz threw a dagger of a fourth-down desperation pass to Golden Tate to finally put Philly ahead, 16-15, at Soldier’s Field.
Chicago immediately countered with 34 yards on Tark Cohen’s return and, in just 44 seconds, had swirled downfield to get kicker Cody in range where he had a 43-yard opportunity to be the hero of the game.
Parkey’s kick hit the crossbar, then caromed into an upright, before bouncing back in the stunned Bears’ direction.
Never mind that Parkey’s foot had given Chicago nine earlier points the same afternoon against the Eagles, or “after further review” the field-goal attempt was slapped by an Eagles’s defender … the former Auburn player was booed, had his jersey ‘officially” threatened, and caught more flak than a Japanese battleship in World War II.
The Gentleman’s Rule is you must never throw salt in a wound, or confront any athlete you know is about to die with anguish from his errant attempt, but somehow “The Today Show” got kicker Cody Parkey on camera on Friday morning. This will let you see for yourself what a life’s champion have we uncovered on the Chicago Bears’ roster:
* * *
Here are five things Parkey said in an interview with hosts Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Craig Melvin:

1. Parkey said he had “a lot of confidence” as he headed out to attempt the field goal with 10 seconds to play. He didn’t know the kick was tipped by Eagles defensive lineman Treyvon Hester. The NFL changed the missed field goal to a blocked kick in the stats book Monday.
“As a kicker, you live for those moments, and I was 3-for-3 before that,” Parkey said. “I had a lot of confidence going into that kick. So I went out there, and my long snapper and holder did a great job. I saw the wind moving a little bit, and I said, ‘All right, this is how I’m going to play it.’ I didn’t know it was tipped or anything. I thought I hit a pretty good kick. It felt good off my foot.”
Parkey said he thought from the bounces the football took that it would go in.
“Looking up, I saw it hit the upright and it hit the crossbar, and I’m like, ‘Surely it will go in,’” Parkey said. “Unfortunately it bounced toward me. I’m disappointed I let the fans, my teammates and the entire organization down, but I’ll continue to keep my head held high because football is what I do. It’s not who I am.”
2. Parkey said he hasn’t been on social media to read any of the angry – or supportive – messages from Bears fans.
“A lot of good can come of (social media), and a lot of bad can come of it,” Parkey said. “But at the same time, I’ve gotten a lot of positive messages. Like I said earlier, I feel worse than anybody about missing that kick because I wanted to make it more than anybody. But at the end of the day, I’m going to hold my head high and when things aren’t going my way I’m going to think positive and keep swinging.”
3. Parkey thanked defensive end Akiem Hicks and his teammates for standing up for him after the game and on Monday when the Bears were cleaning out their lockers.
Guthrie read a quote from Hicks that said, “That’s our guy. I’m going to ride with my guy. If you have that ‘C’ on your helmet, I’m going to ride with you to the end. I don’t care what happens on the field. We are together. That’s it.”
Parkey responded by calling Hicks “a stand-up guy.”
“I think a lot of teammates stood up for me, from what I’ve heard,” Parkey said. “That just shows you what kind of team we have. It’s a family. It’s a bond. These guys see me working hard every day, and they know all the effort we put into it year round. So it’s really awesome to see that Akiem and everyone else stood up for me like that. I really appreciate it.”
4. Photos and video captured Parkey pointing to the sky after the miss and kneeling in a postgame prayer circle after the game. He said the group prayer session is something he looks forward to after games.
“Something I’ve always tried to do through good or bad is to give praise to the higher power, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Parkey said. “After the game, one of the coolest things in my opinion is the prayer we do. You get done battling the other team for 60 minutes, and we all join in prayer. We’re just praying for safety and health and that the team gets home safely on the plane and stuff like that. It’s really encouraging stuff and something I look forward to.”
5. Parkey drove back to his Florida home with his wife, Colleen, after packing up his stuff at Halas Hall.
“It gave us time to reflect on the season, get back to people,” Parkey said. “We realized how many people are in our corner and love us. It gives us time to reflect and realize how blessed we are with the life we live.” Colleen also made a brief appearance on the show to say she was proud of her husband.
“The kick didn’t go in, and we’re getting through that,” she said. “But just watching his character and everything shine through, which obviously stands above football in my eyes, I’m super proud of him.”
* * *
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” —Michael Jordan

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