Parker still eligible, issues apology

CLEMSON - Almost 36 hours since he left Death Valley without speaking to the media after the 29-7 loss to South Carolina, Kyle Parker spoke.

The Tigers' dual sport star came under fire after skipping out on the post-game interviews late Saturday night.

Parker issued an apology for his early exit prior to making a statement about his motive.

"To be quite honest with you, I felt like I couldn't have said anything to make the situation any better," he said. "I thought the questions I was going to get asked and the explanations that I was feeling at the time wouldn't have done really anyone justice, including myself."

His frustration mounted after a third quarter benching by head coach Dabo Swinney, who replaced Parker with redshirt freshman quarterback Tajh Boyd.

Parker went 7 of 17 for 117 yards with a touchdown and an interception against South Carolina.

The interception, a pick-6, was his final play of the game.

On the sideline, Parker and Swinney had a heated verbal exchange.

"I think it was my attitude afterward. To be 100 percent honest with you, I think it's just competition. I don't see a thing in the way I've played the game or a flaw in my attitude. It just didn't go over well between us," Parker said. "I was just out there competing, trying to give our team the best chance to win. Obviously he was, too. With that being said, there was a little altercation. I didn't think it was too big of a deal.

"I have to deal with it. I'm the one that has to fault it. I'm the player he's the coach. What he says goes. I'm the one that has to act and deal with it in a way to help our team."

A two-year starter on the football team, Parker was drafted in the first-round of the MLB Draft last June by the Colorado Rockies.

His potential academic standing for the bowl game was called into question with a report on Monday morning.

"I've been academically fine every semester I've been here. I guess you're going to have to ask those guys," Parker said. "I'm one of the first guys to be declared academically before the semester is even over. Add that to the list of other things that I have accomplished."

Some of the "message and opinions" that surfaced on Monday "weren't really true and really true of my character".

Parker met with Swinney on Monday to reassure his coach that he would be practice and be ready to play in the bowl game.

"I told him yesterday, I'm not a quitter. I'm not going to walk away from this, even if I was going to get a snap, I would still be around, because that's who I am," Parker said.

The meeting with Swinney led Parker to believe that he would still have a chance to play in the bowl game as the starting quarterback.

"Word was I still give the team the best chance to win. I think that's the common perception around here," Parker said. "I guess that would mean I'm starting. I don't know what they intend to do with playing Tajh. I don't really have a problem if they do [play Boyd]. The biggest thing is—if they think I give our team the best chance to win they go with me. If not, I'll be there to support him."

Things haven't gone like Parker had imagined when he gave Swinney word that he would be back for one more season as Clemson's quarterback.

The 6-6 record combined with the 57 percent completion percentage, 2,079 yards, 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions weren't the numbers he was shooting for four months ago.

"I feel like, despite the bad times, we've had a lot of good times this year," Parker said. "I've learned a lot of things. What's really frustrating is the opinion that I've given up on the season already and I didn't give it my best effort. I can sit here today and feel totally at peace with the effort I've put in and my attitude towards everything. I haven't thought for second about quitting. I think it's sad to feel like that's the perception on me."


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