Dick LeBeau Says Jim Parker Was The Best Pulling Guard He Has Ever Seen
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was on asked Thursday if the trap game in the NFL has gone away and he explained at length that it hasn\’t in relation to the Steelers and the rest of the league.
“That was there formula,” said LeBeau referencing the Steeler organization. “They drafted for that formula, and that was their philosophy. But the trap has never left the game. The old Steelers, that was the core of their offense. Everything went around play action, and the dive plays coming off that trap action. They drafted guards that were real athletic and their centers were always great. They could hold down and block back so the guards could go out. Then it was all by scheme. Coach Chuck Noll had worked on that for a long time, and he got the people that he wanted.”
“We all know that it was successful. It’s more of a passing league now but the trap itself is not gone. It will never be gone. People have even got more exotic with the trap game, using the tackles now. That’s a different looking play. It shows up every couple of weeks for us to defend. It’s not to the frequency that the old Steelers ran but I don’t think the trap will ever be gone.”
LeBeau was then asked who the best pulling guard was that he has ever seen play and it didn\’t take him long to come up with an answer.
“I would have to say Jim Parker, because he is an Ohio State guy,” said LeBeau. “He is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, so he wasn’t too bad.
So who was Jim Parker? He was a three-year starter on both the offensive and defensive line and a two-time All-American for Ohio State University. Parker also was the first Buckeye to win the Outland Trophy, the award given to the nation’s top interior lineman as a senior in 1956. During his three years as a starter Parker helped Ohio State win 23 of 28 games and he was a member of the 1954 National Championship team.
Parker was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the first round of the 1957 NFL draft to play left tackle and protect the blind side of quarterback Johnny Unitas until 1962. During that span of six years he was selected to five Pro Bowl teams. In 1963 Parker was moved to left guard full time and it resulted in four more Pro Bowl selections over the course of the next four years.
Parker played in 139 consecutive games for the Colts before injuring his knee in 1967. The injury forced him to decide to retire during the season instead of holding back the team, a move that coach Don Shula called “maybe the most unselfish act in sports history.”
Parker was elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame on January 13, 1973 and enshrined on July 28, 1973. His presenter for that enshrinement was his college coach Woody Hayes.
Parker died at the age of 71 on July 18, 2005 of congestive heart failure and kidney disease.
Below is a video of Parker that is narrated by his former Colts teammate, wide receiver Raymond Berry.