Parker: I Want to be a Leader & a Role Model

Following finals week and upon returning home for a brief summer break, Preston Parker found himself in some trouble when he was arrested for possessing approximately 4 grams of marijuana and a loaded .40 caliber gun. Early Friday afternoon, Parker spoke with the media for the first time concerning the incident before he turns his focus to the start of the season which is less than a month away.

Late in April, Parker's major off-field setback had the college football world wondering what would happen to the Florida State standout receiver. About a month later, it was made public that he would sit out the first two games of the 2008 football season along with several other circumstances handed down by both the state and head ball coach Bobby Bowden.

That late April night, Parker had plenty of time to think about what went wrong as he said he spent 15 hours in jail. "I knew a lot of people in there, but it isn't any place to be; especially not for me." Even through the tough times, Parker said he knew he was going to be okay. "When I was in there something told me I was going to be alright."

Following the events of that night, Parker knew there would be a lot of people he would have to answer to, but the person who he said was the toughest to face might surprise some. "Jimbo's Son," Parker said, "Every time I go see him he goes ‘Preston! Preston!' He wears the number 5 jersey and runs around. When I was in jail I kept hearing his voice calling my name."

Although Parker was going through one of the toughest times of his life, he said there were two people that really stood out and helped him stay positive. "Jimbo Fisher and my big brother Douglas Parker" said Parker, "He just told me keep my head up and never look down. He really helped me with it."

Parker also said his teammates continued to support him despite what had happened. "They welcomed me with open arms like they did my freshman year. It was like nothing ever happened. People were asking questions and stuff but they stayed behind me."

Among a two game suspension, Parker was also forced to participate in several hours of community service. "I've already completed 65 hours and I'm going to keep with it. I've been working with D.A.R.E., the YMCA and I did a camp for the kids down in South Florida."

While this setback may be a dark spot on Parker's past, he is doing his best to move forward in a positive light and re-build his image as an icon on and off the field. "It made me realize a lot of stuff. I could have lost my whole future, my son, but I'm back here trying to do everything I can do to get back on the field, be a leader and be a role model for the little kids."

*Preston had noticeably put on some muscle mass and says he now weighs in at 200 pounds.

*Parker noted that he knows there are some friends who he used to hang out with that he can not associate with anymore. He hopes they understand that and if they don't that "Oh well."

*Parker's son Preston Jr. turned 1 on July 12 and Parker hopes to continue working hard for him.

*He seemed as if he was extremely relieved after the press conference and he is now ready to move on and put the whole event behind him.

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