While “Fast” Willie has been grounded so far this preseason with a strained knee muscle, the Pro Bowl back is set to take the field for the first time in Black and Gold on Saturday night in Washington. Willie Parker, the Steelers feature back, is ready to go according to both he and the team, and Parker will get some carries for the first time in the preseason this weekend.
“I think I’m ready now,” Parker said after going through a full afternoon practice. “I’m 100 percent. It’s the other things I need to work on, like the plays. I’m trying to get that back in my memory bank.” Head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that Parker will be on the field with the first team, and will play about 20 snaps, which is what the rest of the first team starters will play.
“Right now, he looks pretty good,” Tomlin said. “He tells us he has that fifth gear back. You know how those high-performance athletes are. He’s feeling like he’s got the fifth.” Parker had been sidelined with that knee strain that stopped him from being able to turn on another gear. Last season the Pro Bowler ran for 1494 yards and 13 touchdowns while averaging 4.4 yards per carry.