DENVER -- Will Parks arrived in Denver and rolled up his sleeves. He made the roster as a sixth-round pick in 2016, emerging as a key reserve and special teams players. He evolved into a versatile piece and impact contributor.
Ideally, Parks would have stayed with the Broncos, where he became a fan favorite with his endless energy and passion for the game. However, the 25-year-old wanted an opportunity to make more money with a clearer path to the starting lineup. He found it with his hometown Eagles, signing a one-year, $1.6 million deal.
Parks is a native of Philadelphia and has spent the last few years doing community work to help stem the violence in the area where he grew up.
"It’s home yes. But the culture, winning attitude, and the grit here is what separates Bird Gang. I’m excited to be here. I’m happy to take this next chapter in life. Most importantly, it’s time to show the world what I can do on this stage," Parks tweeted. "I’m ready. I’m ready."
When the Broncos hired coach Vic Fangio, Parks' role changed in the offseason. He became a bit of an afterthought, casting doubt over his future. When Bryce Callahan's injured foot spoiled his season, Parks received significant playing time, posting 35 tackles in 14 games -- he missed only two weeks with a broken thumb. With the Broncos paying safeties Justin Simmons, an All-Pro, and Kareem Jackson, a Pro Bowl alternate, a combined $22.5 million this season, there was little incentive or room to keep Parks.
During his time in Denver, Park carved out a reputation for making memorable plays. In 2016, he turned Simmons' blocked point into a two-point conversion, racing down the sideline into the end zone to help the Broncos pull off the upset. In 2018, Parks leveled Steelers tight end Xavier Grimble, preventing a touchdown and jarring the ball loose for a turnover.
Parks posted 149 tackles, four interceptions, and one sack in his Broncos career. The Broncos wished him well on Twitter, thanking him for his impact on and off the field.
"Forever apart of my life. Y’all saved it. That’s only way I can thank y’all man. Y’all saved my life so thank you," Parks tweeted to the Broncos. "My career couldn’t have started at a better place. Y’all gave me a start. Now I must go endure and finish. Love forever Denver, PHILLY out."