In just four seasons, Roscoe Parrish has become the Bills' career punt return leader. On many Sundays, he's worth the price of admission all by himself, a one-man adrenaline rush on a team that has missed the playoffs nine consecutive seasons.
None of this, though, has assured Parrish's future with Buffalo or made him content. He wants more opportunities to display his skills as a wide receiver, but that's not likely to occur on a team whose pecking order is clearly defined at the position.
"It's a tough situation for me," Parrish said recently during a break in voluntary organized team activities.
Despite being the NFL's two-time defending punt return champion, averaging nearly 16.0 yards per return the last two seasons, Parrish was on the trading block in the days leading up to the draft. Buffalo's front office is still testing the trade waters for the former University of Miami star but has wisely been reluctant to deal such a special teams weapon for what likely won't return more than a late-round future draft pick.
So that's Parrish's dilemma.
The acquisition of star free agent Terrell Owens pushed Parrish further down the depth chart, behind starters Owens and Lee Evans, No. 3 slot receiver Josh Reed, and somewhere in a mix between 4 and 6 with emerging young players James Hardy and Steve Johnson.
"It is what it is right now," said Parrish, a second-round pick in 2005 who has averaged 10.8 yards on 97 career receptions with five touchdowns. "I don't want to say the wrong things. I have maturity. My main role on this team right now is punt returner. You guys see what I can do. It is what it is."
The question with Parrish has always been what more can he be?
Two offensive coordinators haven't shown any creativity in using him beyond occasional reps in mostly four- and five-man spreads. He has electrifying shiftiness and speed, but durability has been an issue at 5-9, 168 pounds soaking wet.
"I feel like there's not too much more I can do because I'm going on my fifth year," Parrish said. "They've seen me. They know my ability and what I can do. It's just that I probably haven't been given the opportunity. The NFL is all about opportunity."
Maybe he's right.
Reed was the slot man and shined this week with half a dozen catches in drills, including gainers of 40 and 65 yards.
"I know I'm a true receiver," said Parrish, a second-round pick in 2005 of former head coach Mike Mularkey. "But I'm going into my fifth year and people probably don't see that. Who's to say if I went to another team? I'm not saying I want to, but I might blossom more as a receiver."