BY GEOFF HOBSON
Hollywood has been making a movie about his life for the last five years or so. But Sirr Parker has always lived tough and rough on the fringes of the big city.
Like this. The 5-11, 190-pound Parker, the fastest Bengal and life-long offensive force, is trying to hang on in the NFL by learning cornerback.
The hard way.
So maybe that's why the flick was no big deal. Maybe that's why Parker was on a plane Sunday night when Showtime aired, "They Call Me Sirr."
He did catch the last 20 minutes. So he saw how the movie ended with his 32-yard touchdown catch in overtime that lifted Texas A&M over Kansas State in the Big 12 championship game two years ago.
"Movies tend to exaggerate," Parker says. But he liked the end.
"Real footage," he says.
Parker figures he'll see the full movie during one of the two remaining Showtime slots. Saturday, Feb. 24 at 6:15 p.m. Or Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 4:35 p.m.
"It's a great honor to have a movie made about you," Parker says. "They started talking to me about doing it when I was a freshman at A&M, so it's really been no surprise or anything. I'm just trying to keep my job now."
The film documents Parker's teen years on the mean streets of South Central
Los Angeles, when he virtually raised his infant brother alone while starring in football, working part-time, and securing a 3.9 at Locke High School.
In fact, Parker was flying back Sunday night from a visit with his brother, now 11 and living in Houston with his aunt.
His alcoholic mother was in and out of their lives. Often out. Parker says she's doing much better and they are with each other in L.A. But. . .
"We've never really talked about the movie," he says.
Al Irby, Parker's agent, liked the movie. But he thought they missed the best script. Parker wrote it himself at A&M, where he rushed for 2,000 yards in his career and caught nearly 500 yards his senior season.
While at A&M, Parker raised his own infant daughter. A single parent while playing big-time college football?
"Sure, I used day care," Parker said. "But I paid for it."
In Parker's mind,
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there was never a doubt he would raise his daughter. She's now 5 and spent part of this past season with her Dad in Cincinnati.
"I brought her here," Parker says. "So why shouldn't I? She's my responsibility."
If Parker sounds like the guy everyone wants to make it, it's because he is. The only problem is, he'd like to make it as a wide receiver. Or a back? Or a returner?
"It's what I've done all my life," Parker said. "I run a 4.25 (seconds in the 40-yard dash) and I think I can catch the ball. But you probably know better than I what they're going to do."
Although the coaches haven't sat down and talked about Parker yet, other segments of the organization indicate cornerback is his best shot to make it.
Parker has been cut three times in his two NFL seasons, starting in San Diego, the team that signed him as a free agent in 1999 out of A&M. The Bengals picked him up for the practice squad last training camp after the Panthers cut him. Then the Bengals released him early in the season before picking him up again.
Parker didn't cut it as a receiver or running back with his first two clubs, and apparently the Bengals don't want to make the same mistake and plan to see if he can finish off the adjustment to defense he started last training camp.
"I'll do what I have to do," Parker said. "It's a tough position to learn after playing offense for so long."
Maybe it won't make a movie. But it's a pretty good storyline for a spring show.