Earlier this offseason, Colts defensive lineman David Parry was arrested in Arizona regarding a alcohol-related golf cart incident.
He agreed to a plea deal that will allow him to avoid jail time, but there’s still the possibility of discipline from the NFL. Furthermore, people have wondered whether the arrest might signal the end of his time with the Colts, and shortly after it happened Chris Ballard called it “disapointing.” But considering we’re a couple of months removed from the incident, it would appear that it will not cost Parry his job.
Chris Ballard confirmed as much yesterday in an interview with 1070 the Fan’s Dan Dakich, who asked him whether the Parry situation is done in the sense that whether he makes the team or not will be completely based on his on-field performance.
“Absolutely,” Ballard told Dakich. “Absolutely. It will be based on, I mean, look, depending on what we end up keeping, if we keep five defensive linemen or six defensive linemen, you want to try to keep the best 53 you can on the roster and then don’t pigeon-hole yourself into, ‘well, I’m going to keep five wideouts, I’m going to keep three quarterbacks.’ No, you want to keep the best 53, and if David’s one of the best 53, then he’ll be on the roster.”
That’s the most definitive we’ve heard from Ballard about something that has been suspected, as it means that Parry will have an opportunity to compete for a spot on the roster. That’s the good news for him. But the bad news for him is that he will indeed be facing quite a bit of competition. Since he was drafted by the Colts in the 2015 NFL Draft he’s started all 32 games, but now he’s in jeopardy of not even making the roster.
The Colts signed Johnathan Hankins this offseason as a big-money and (hopefully) big-impact nose tackle, and they also signed Al Woods as depth. Given that situation, plus the fact that the line has Henry Anderson, Kendall Langford, Hassan Ridgeway, Grover Stewart, T.Y. McGill, and Margus Hunt, Parry will really need to prove himself in training camp.
Most likely, it will come down to Woods versus Parry for the backup nose tackle spot, and it would appear that Woods has the edge there. But there’s a lot of time for Parry to earn himself a spot, and it seems clear that he’ll get the chance to do that.
One other thing to note is Ballard’s comments on roster building, as he doesn’t cite specific numbers of players for each position but rather wants to keep the best players possible regardless of positions. So that does open up the possibility for Parry to win a spot even if he’s not one of the top five or six defensive linemen, but that does make it much tougher.
Basically, here’s the deal: Parry has done an admirable job over the past two years, but he’s just a solid player. You can win with him, but he’s far from a difference maker. So the Colts upgraded at the spot and brought in Hankins, which means that Parry will be fighting for a spot on the roster. But we can expect him to get that chance to compete in training camp, since the decision won’t be based on his arrest earlier this year.