Two years ago, Cody Parkey was shipping his cleats to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. Now, he has no idea what city his cleats are headed to.
Parkey, a record-setting kicker two years ago, found himself battling this summer for his Eagles career with Dolphins castoff Caleb Sturgis. Both kickers will learn their fate this weekend when rosters are cut down to 53.
Two years after making the Pro Bowl, breaking the NFL rookie scoring record and shattering the Eagles scoring record, Parkey's Eagles career could be about to end.
Sturgis replaced Parkey a month into last season when Parkey suffered a torn muscle in his groin, an injury that is debilitating to a kicker.
Sturgis missed four field goals and two extra points in his first eight games in Philly, but the rest of the way made all 17 extra points and went 5 for 5 on field goals, finishing the year at 82 percent.
That’s a far cry from Parkey’s 89 percent as a rookie. But Sturgis out-kicked Parkey throughout practice this summer and also in the preseason games, although Parkey didn’t get many chances.
Final cuts are due by 4 p.m. Saturday. Neither Parkey nor Sturgis got to attempt a field goal Thursday night in the preseason finale against the Jets.
“I love Philly, man,” Parkey said after the game. “It’s awesome. I went to the Pro Bowl as an Eagle, my cleats are in the Hall of Fame, I have almost every single-season record kicking, I got a little mural in the stadium.
“Philly’s been really good to me, and I hope I can stay here for years to come. I did what I could, it’s out of my hands and hopefully they keep me around.”
Parkey’s 150 points in 2014 broke the franchise record of 144, set in 2008 by David Akers, and the NFL rookie record, also 144, set in 1985 by the Bears’ Kevin Butler.
At one point in 2014, Parkey made 17 straight field goals, the second-longest streak in Eagles history. His 88.9 percent accuracy was fourth-best ever by a rookie (and is now fifth-best).
Parkey’s 87.5 career percentage — including 3 for 4 last year — is fourth-best in NFL history among those with at least 40 kicks.
Sturgis is at a respectable but unspectacular 78.5 percent in his career but showed good range with kicks of 52 and 53 yards in back-to-back games last year. Parkey made a franchise-record four 50-yarders in four attempts the year before.
“It’s been fun,” Parkey said. “Competing with Caleb’s only made me better. At the end of the day, the Eagles have a tough decision to make and whatever decision they make they’re going to have a great kicker, and that’s the way I view it. I’m not going to stress over anything, I’m just going to let them make the decision.”
An oddity of the preseason is that Parkey got to attempt only one field goal in four games, the 40-yarder he made in Pittsburgh.
And that wasn’t even supposed to be his kick.
“There’s nothing I can really do about it,” he said. “If Caleb hadn’t gotten knocked out of the second game (with a concussion) that would have been his field goal too because we switch off every quarter.
“So the fact that I got the one I got is just a blessing, and I made the kick. Obviously I didn’t get as many kicks as I would have wished for, but I went out there and did my best and had fun doing it. It was fun to get back out there.”
Parkey has the fourth-highest career field goal percentage in NFL history among kickers with 40 or more attempts at 87.5 percent, trailing only Dan Bailey, Chandler Catanzaro and Justin Tucker, who are all active.
The way kickers come and go around the league, it’s hard to imagine he won’t be kicking somewhere.
"I'm not going to stress over anything," Parkey said. I’m just going to let them make the decision."