Parrish the thoughts

Niners safety Tony Parrish, who was part of the NFL delegation that traveled to Mexico this summer to help promote Sunday night's game between the 49ers and Arizona Cardinals, talks 49ers and Cardinals and covers myriad issues surrounding the nationally-televised game at Mexico City's enormous Azteca Stadium.

Q: You previously were greatly anticipating this game. After all the 49ers have been going through this season, specifically after the last game, what is your mood and the mood of the team?

Parrish:
We're still excited. This is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go ahead and be a part of history and play in the first regular-season game outside the country. The last game against Dallas was definitely a disappointment for us, but this is an opportunity for us not only to play in Mexico, but we're playing a division opponent. Our goal is to win the NFC West, so it's the next step.

Q: What is your reaction and what was the reaction of your teammates after the remarks of coach Mike Nolan after last week's game?

Parrish:
I just kind of rolled with it. I just kind of knew that I'm going to continue to do my job the best I can. As a team, we were all disappointed. We were disappointed in the fact that we really felt like we let that game slip away. Dallas continued to execute, and we started making some mistakes that were costly.

Q: After what you guys did to the Cardinals last year, obviously last year didn't go very well, but you did get a couple wins against these guys. So, do you have a different mindset or different confidence against this team than maybe some other teams?

Parrish:
No, we don't have a different mindset or a different confidence. We're just going in, trying to win games and to achieve the first goal that coach Nolan set out before us, which is to win the NFC West. This is the next step to continue that path.

Q: You've started every regular-season game during your career. Would you talk, please, about how difficult that is to accomplish in this game.

Parrish:
It is definitely difficult. I'd have to say, first of all, I've been blessed with some health. Even when I was injured, I've been able to go ahead and suck it up and play. It's difficult. It's a physical game. You definitely have to rely on your off-season training.

Q: Do you know of special preparations or can you talk about how you're going to deal with the altitude?

Parrish:
We have not spoken about the altitude at all. It's something that both teams are going to have to deal with. To my knowledge, there's nothing you can do about it. You just have to show up and play.

Q: How does the absence of Kurt Warner affect your defensive scheme for this game?

Parrish:
I don't think it's going to affect our defensive scheme at all. At the same time we're attacking the system, not just the quarterback. So defensively it's not going to affect us too much.

Q: Do you feel underrated at all as a safety in this league?

Parrish:
I do. I do feel underrated as a safety. All I can do is keep playing, keep doing my job, play for the guys here in the locker room.

Q: Can you talk about the atmosphere in Mexico when you were down there, how fans treated you.

Parrish:
It was definitely a very exciting atmosphere. I was excited to go down there and be a part of something new and different. As I was in Mexico, the excitement the fans and the media were showing definitely made me even more excited to be a part of that game. I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Q: How different was it from your trip to Japan?

Parrish:
On the trip to Mexico, I was the ambassador, so I actually spent some time in Monterrey and Mexico City. I've had time to interact with more of the media and with the people. When we went to Osaka, it was different. Not only was it a preseason game, but we didn't have as much interaction.

Q: Do you consider with Kurt Warner out it's going to be easier to beat Arizona in Mexico?

Parrish:
No, I don't consider it to be easier. Josh McCown was the starting quarterback at one point. It's not like he doesn't have any experience. He's also a mobile quarterback. He's a big guy. He presents his own problems.

Q: I know you said you can't do anything about the altitude, but is that a concern for you, that you're going to be playing out there and the air is so thin?

Parrish:
No, it's not a concern, especially since it's a level playing field. Maybe if Mexico City had a team, we were going to go ahead and play them on their territory, like the Denver Broncos, then it would be a little to their advantage, a little more of a concern. Going down to Mexico City, it's something that's going to be peripheral. It's going to be there; we'll just have to deal with it.

Q: Can you describe the mindset of this 49ers team in 2005 as you rebuild to become a contender again?

Parrish:
The mindset is that we don't want to rebuild; we want to win now. We disappointed ourselves last week. We really laid an egg in Philadelphia. You know, our goal that was set from Day One was to win the NFC West. Even though we are 1-2 right now, we are still on that path. That's another thing that makes this game very big for us.

Q: You were talking about a picture you had in your locker room with Azteca Stadium. Would you take another picture for this game? Will you ask for a picture to keep it?

Parrish:
I would love a picture of the stadium, especially during game time. It will just be a part of my memory of my time in Mexico City.

Q: What is the most fun part of your job, of playing in the National Football League?

Parrish:
The most fun for me is just being around the guys. In the offseason, you miss them. When you come back during minicamps, training camp, you definitely start looking around for your boys. We spend a lot of time together. You miss that camaraderie that we have together.

Q: You had an excellent game against the Dallas Cowboys last week with two interceptions, one of which you returned for a touchdown. What is going to be your specific game against the Cardinals?

Parrish:
My specific game is to take care of my responsibilities, make sure the defense is set up properly, and take advantage of my opportunities when the ball is in the air. I like to really just try to do my job first. When the ball is in the air, compete.

Q: Are you at all interested as a tourist to see what level of knowledge the fans in Mexico have of pro football?

Parrish:
When I was in Mexico City, I got the impression that the fans are very knowledgeable.

Q: How did that show itself?

Parrish:
I'm trying to remember the station, there was a radio show I did, where I answered questions. Just questions in general by media personnel, people that were coming up to me during my stay, were very knowledgeable of the game.

Q: When you spoke earlier of the feeling of being an underrated safety in this league, does that serve as a motivating factor? What motivates you to just get better every year?

Parrish:
It does serve as its own motivation. But, like I said before, I play for my teammates. I play for the guys around me. I really feel if I do my job, everything else will kind of take care of itself. It's slow coming as it's been, but I'm just going to continue to perform.

Q: This is a home game for Arizona. How would you have felt if this were one of your home games?

Parrish:
Myself, I would have been indifferent about the situation. I know some people would rather actually have all their home games at home. But myself, it doesn't really matter where I play.

Q: Are you going to buy a souvenir from Mexico to have something to remember this historical game?

Parrish:
Well, from what I understand, we are going to get some type of commemorative souvenir of the game that's going to be handed out to all the players. As far as being able to go out and buy something, it really depends on how much time we have. The schedule for us going down to this game isn't much different than if we played on the East Coast with the change of us heading over to the stadium in the evening to have our practice. I don't anticipate having all that much time.


Niners Digest Top Stories