BUTLER — Quarterback Brett Favre has a reputation for throwing hard.
Former NFL receiver Corey Parchman can attest to that. He’ll show you the ring finger on his right hand, the last joint noticeably bent compared to his other fingers.
Parchman’s finger is the result of torn ligaments and a broken bone suffered while playing with Favre and the Green Bay Packers.
He decided to continue playing because of a love of football and the likelihood he would miss the rest of the season if he had it surgically repaired.
It’s a decision he doesn’t regret. After all, how many people can say they caught passes from a Hall of Fame quarterback?
It’s some of the decisions earlier in life that shaped who Parchman is today.
During an April visit with Eastside students, Parchman encouraged students to not make some of the same mistakes he made — decisions that cost him later in life.
A standout athlete in football, basketball and baseball at Indianapolis Manual High School, Parchman said he received recruitment letters from just about any college you can think of.
The problems started before his senior year. The biggest mistake was neglecting his academics.
“I thought I could just skate by with my athletic ability,” Parchman explained. Finishing high school, prospective collegiate athletes must apply to the NCAA clearinghouse.
It came back that Parchman’s grades weren’t good enough to enroll anywhere without more work. As a result, the recruitment letters and scholarship offers stopped coming.
Parchman enrolled at Ball State under Proposition 48, meaning he could go to school, but couldn’t play football for one year.
With no scholarship, he took a part-time job while attending classes and trying out for the football team.
After his Prop 48 season, Parchman had to sit out another season when he found out he wasn’t in the coach’s plans.
He stuck with it and eventually set foot on the field. When he did, he was good. In 2001, Parchman set an NCAA record for the longest kick return for a touchdown at 105 yards.
In his professional career, Parchman caught passes from Pro Bowl quarterbacks Favre, Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner, Marc Bulger during stops with Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Green Bay, St. Louis and Oakland.
“I never had a prolific NFL career, but I got to see a lot of things,” Parchman said. “You have choices. It goes fast and it starts right now.”
Some professional athletes blow through their money and by the time their playing days are over, they’re broke.
Parchman invested his money wisely. He owns a construction company and makes time to coach football. His houses and cars are paid for. He completed a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
“The guys who I thought were cool (in high school), they’re either dead or in jail. I didn’t want to use the excuse, ‘I’m from the neighborhood’ — I didn’t want to be like that.
“The worst thing to live with is ‘I wish,’” Parchman said.
“The teachers in this building, they care about you,” he said. “The real world, outside these doors, they don’t care about you.”
He recommended students seek out their teachers when they need to talk to someone. “Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to do it,” he said.
Parchman urged female students in the audience to respect themselves first. “No guy’s going to respect you if you don’t respect yourself,” he said.
Football, he said, is a lot like life. “You get pushed down and knocked down,” Parchman explained. “You have to get back up.”