In his eight seasons with the Chargers, Parrella played on one of the better defenses in the NFL and was the primary run stuffer, but Pro Bowlers Junior Seau and Rodney Harrison got most of the publicity even though he was the only player to start in 80 straight games over 5 seasons (1997-01). Now the 32-year-old Parrella said he isn't disappointed to miss out on the Chargers' turnaround under new coach Marty Schottenheimer.
``The only thing I can say is I love it,'' he said of being a Raider. ``I'm very happy to be here. I would have never come here unless this was the place that I wanted to play, and we're having a good year. And hopefully we can continue with this run. I know that last week we hit a big speed bump, but I like to think that we won't have too many more of those.''
Parrella loves the atmosphere surrounding him.
``We've got a lot of good guys around us, a good offense and we're just having fun,'' Parrella said. ``It's been harped on around here that we've got to stop the run first and foremost, and then it's most important to win the game. So far it's been working.''
The Chargers are very familiar with the "Parrella factor".
Chargers Pro Bowl defensive end Marcellus Wiley said, ``our offensive line definitely needs to be in the weight room this week, because he's a strong guy; he's a wide guy. He takes up a lot of space out there. He knows what he's doing, he has a motor. He's a great talent. It was unfortunate we lost him, but we kept things rolling. He's happy up there. I wish him the best, but not a great game against us.''
Since entering the NFL from Nebraska, Parrella has progressed every year in his development. So much so that teams were running away from him. He has topped 50+ tackles the last 3 seasons (54, 65, and 67). For an interior lineman, those numbers are staggering. Even more impressive, he has had 14.5 sacks in that same time span. You can see why the Chargers were sad to se him go.
Jason Fisk was signed to replace Parrella. "I'm completely excited about this opportunity," Fisk said when he first signed. "I know I am coming in here replacing a very much loved and much respected football player in John Parrella. I know he was a good one and these are going to be big shoes to fill, but I'm more than up to the challenge."
Fisk has been no slouch through his career. Fisk has the most wins of an NFL player from 1998-2000 as the teams he played for posted a combined 41-7 record. This year his Chargers are 5-1. Fisk has come far since being a 7th round pick out of Stanford and works hard at his trade.
Both players are 6'3 and about 300 pounds. This weekend they will be key players for their respective teams and Fisk will be playing to prove he is a worthy replacement while Parrella is playing to prove he made a wise decision in leaving San Diego for the archenemy.
Fisk vs. Parrella
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