The Broncos told Will Parks that it was about business. That he was a business decision, a business casualty. Which is why, for him, Sunday felt all kinds of personal.
“I feel so good, for a lot of reasons,” Parks said after his New York Jets topped the Broncos 16-9 at Empower Field, sending his old team to London on a four-game losing skid.
“I was here (in Denver) twice. They (the Broncos) didn’t offer me (anything). I felt like I did a lot of dirty work for these guys.”
A sixth-round draft pick in 2016 by former general manager John Elway, Parks captained the Jets in Week 7, playing primarily on special teams. And even though he hasn’t been back since December 2020, the former Broncos safety still calls it like he sees it. And the view from 5-2, he won’t lie, looks pretty darn great.
“I love the program. (Denver) fans are amazing, amazing people. But it is what it is. It’s business,” Parks continued. “There’s no place where I got so much love (from a) fan base. So much. My brothers (on the Broncos roster) are still here, playing football …”
Speaking of business, the whispers have started that the Broncos might be trading some of those brothers. Maybe even pass-rusher Bradley Chubb.
“It’s tough,” Parks countered. “Chubb is a star player. A star player. Pretty sure Broncos Country, the fans, (would) be sick if he went. You already lost Von (Milller). And you got Chubb, he was Von’s wing man. They go hand-in-hand. And now you talk about possibly trading Chubb? It’s just part of the business, but as a fan base, I would be a little bit like, ‘What are we doing?’
“But those guys are pros up there, upstairs. They’ll figure it out. But in the meantime, I’m a New York Jet who just beat the Denver Broncos, where I used to play. I’m super-excited.”
He feels for Chubb. He feels worse for his old secondary running mate Justin Simmons, who keeps grinding away, even as the pieces change around him but the results stay the same.
“Hard working player,” Parks said. “We always were — (in) ‘16, 17, 18, 19 — a top-10 defense. You’re going to tell me we can’t make the playoffs one time?
“So I definitely feel bad for him. That’s my brother. He’s a leader over there. A true leader. Holds his composure. Godly man. Great family. I’d do anything for (him). So I feel bad for him. I do.
“We all know what’s going on. Nobody’s here. Brandon McManus, there’s Justin Simmons, Kareem Jackson, Garett Bolles. That’s it. (Four) guys? Come on, man. I’m seven years in.”
Like you said, it’s a business.
“It’s a business, bro. But you’ve got to find your way. I’m finding mine. Looks like I found it.”
The J-E-T-S are Parks’ fifth team since December 2020, after a preseason (’21) with the Chiefs, three weeks with the 49ers (also ’21) and a game with the Dolphins (’21 again) before the Jets claimed him off waivers last December. New York re-signed the 28-year-old defensive back this past March and kept him in on or near the active roster ever since.
Curious: Did the Broncos ever inquire about bringing you back a third time?
Did you want to come back?
Which explains why it felt so personal on Sunday.
“But New York, literally, the day I was leaving (last season), they said, ‘Are you able to come back? We would love you to come back.’ And I said, ‘Yes, I would.’
“That’s love. That’s appreciation.”
That’s moving on.
The difference between all those one-score losses in Broncos Country and three one-score victories with the Jets this fall? Brotherhood, Parks said. Brotherhood, trust and analytics.
“We focus a lot on those (close-game situations), those one-score situations, we enter (into),” the former Bronco defender explained. “We’ve got this guy who dials in each and every Friday and keeps us updated on situational football.”
At Cleveland? One-point win. At Pittsburgh? Four-point win. At Green Bay? 17-point shocker. At Empower Field? A seven-point victory in which the visitors never trailed in the second half.
They ain’t pretty. They’re happy to punt, play field position, lead with the defense and pounce when the other quarterback screws up. The Jets might be the ugliest 5-2 team the NFL has seen in a long, long time.
“You got a lot of misfits over here,” Parks said. “You got a lot of misfits and hungry guys over here.”
Hungry beats pretty when pretty can’t score.