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Top 50 football players in Arizona Wildcats history: No. 43, Glenn Parker

Photo from Arizona Athletics.

Photo from Arizona Athletics.

Position, years at Arizona: Offensive tackle, 1988-1989

Honors, accomplishments at UA: A Football News second-team All-American in 1989. … Earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors as a senior.

Why he made our list: The amazing thing about Parker’s career, at Arizona and beyond, is that he did not play varsity football at Edison High in Huntington Beach (Calif.). It’s not that he lacked athleticism; it’s that he had directed his passion to bodysurfing and other beach activities rather than organized sports. Talked into football at Golden West College, he redshirted a season, played as a freshman and blossomed as a sophomore, earning scholarship offers from Arizona, USC, Tennessee and Oregon.

He became an instant starter for the Wildcats at tackle, with the body and look of a brawler from a biker bar, but the 300-pounder also was light on his feet as he helped UA lead the Pac-10 in rushing in 1988 and 1989. The highlight came when the Wildcats rushed for 480 yards in a 42-7 win over UCLA.

“The single most impressive physical thing I’ve ever witnessed as a teammate,” said Heath Bray, who was with the Wildcats from 1988 to 1992, “was when David Eldridge broke his long (54-yard) touchdown run against UCLA and there was 300-pound Glenn Parker running stride for stride with him.”

Glenn Parker in 1998 with the Kansas City Chiefs. Photo by Rick Stewart/Allsport

Glenn Parker in 1998 with the Kansas City Chiefs. Photo by Rick Stewart/Allsport

Life after college: Parker, a third-round pick of the Buffalo Bills, played in four Super Bowls in his first four years in the NFL, coming up on the losing end each time. Able to play guard or tackle, he started 72 games in his seven seasons in Buffalo before becoming a three-year starter in Kansas City and finishing up as a two-year starter with the New York Giants. Parker got one more shot at the Super Bowl after the 2000 season but joined Cornelius Bennett as the only five-time losers in the big game as the Giants fell to the Baltimore Ravens.

Parker, who started 141 NFL games and played in 174, embarked on a broadcasting career after his football retirement. With experience at several networks, he was hired last year to be the lead college football analyst for the new Pac-12 Networks.

He was the host of an afternoon sports talk show in Tucson, “In the House” on KCUB 1290-AM, where the eclectic Parker was as comfortable dispensing his knowledge about wine and cooking as he was about sports. Parker lives in Tucson.

In partnership with the Arizona Republic, we are counting down the top 50 football players in Arizona Wildcats history. Leave your top 10 at AG’s Wildcat Report on Facebook, and check out azcentral.com for the countdown of ASU’s Top 50 football players.

No. 50 — LaMonte Hunley

No. 49 — Hubie Oliver

No. 48 — Rob Gronkowski

No. 47 — Jim Donarski

No. 46 — Ontiwaun Carter

No. 45 — Steve McLaughlin

No. 44 — John Fina

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