Even after rushing for 1,200 yards in his first season as the Steelers' starter, Willie Parker entered last season with plenty of questions to answer.
Some didn't think he could hold up over a full season as the main back with Jerome Bettis to suck up carries. Others wondered if he would be a failure as the team's goal line back--thinking he wasn't big enough to pound between the tackles.
A 1,494-yard season with 13 touchdowns will answer all of those questions. So when Jim Wexell sat down with Parker this week, the only real question he could ask was about his fumbling. Now Parker
did fumble five times last season, which is too much, but that's not really enough to consider it a fumbling problem. However, Parker says he's working on trying to fix the problem."(Coach Kirby Wilson) teaches keeping the ball in one hand and, like, if you go outside, if you go left, put it in your left hand. Last year, I just put it in whatever hand I felt comfortable with. That's what caused a lot of my fumbles."
Like the late 1990s, the Steelers now don't worry about their starting tailback, even if some fans seem to find things to nitpick about with Parker. But even if he can just do what he did last year, Steelers fans should be quite happy.