Despite his relentless effort to return to action from a groin injury, however, the Raiders placed Parrella on injured reserve Wednesday.
The 34-year old Parrella became the tenth Raider to have his season end with an injury. Oakland elevated wide receiver John Stone from the practice squad to the active roster after putting Parrella on injured reserve. Parrella sustained the groin injury in Oakland's 24-21 loss to the Chicago Bears on October 5th. The injury was so severe that the muscle was torn from the bone. Despite the extent of that injury, Parrella rehabbed constantly in hoping he would return at some point this season.
Parrella said he has been making progress but not enough to where he would be ready for contact.
"I thought I could come back right away after I did it," Parrella said. "The bottom line is that it is what it is."
The Raiders enter Sunday's home game against the Baltimore Ravens with a 3-10 record and out of playoff contention. It is not yet known if the Raiders would have made this move pertaining to Parrella if they were in playoff contention. Since they are not in that situation, however, there was no point risking further injury. Players who are placed on injured reserve cannot return even if they are healthy enough to do so.
"I can't answer that," said Parrella, who had not missed a game – or practice – in his NFL career due to injury. "Other doctors just felt it was time to get better. There was a risk of it happening again if we went out too soon. Some time in January I'm going to be flying around and not having any after-effects."
The Raiders close their season on Dec. 28 at San Diego, Parrella's former team.
Oakland signed Parrella, who played for Buffalo as a rookie in 1993, as a free agent before the 2002 season from the San Diego Chargers. Parrella helped the Raiders bolster their run defense, which was No. 3 against the run last season, on the way to a Super Bowl appearance. Oakland's run defense has fallen enormously this season to No. 31.
Other key players on injured reserve for the Oakland include defensive ends Trace Armstrong and Sam Williams; quarterbacks Rich Gannon and Marques Tuiasosopo; safety Rod Woodson; linebackers Bill Romanowski and Travian Smith; offensive tackle Matt Stinchcomb; and running back Justin Fargas.
"It's unfortunate," Raiders rookie defensive end Akbar Gbaja-Biamila said of Parrella's injury. "John Parrella is a good defensive tackle. He's a great asset to the team. I thought he was going to come back because he was running around. I guess it never healed."
Romanowski (37), Armstrong (38) and Woodson (38) may possibly retire while Gannon (37) could face an uncertain future in Oakland. Parrella, however, has every intention of returning. Parrella added that he has been squatting and slide boarding as part of his rehab.
"I'm going to be 100 percent soon and be prepared to come back next year and play better than I ever have," Parrella said.
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at email@example.com