RENTON — The young tight end had been waiting and hoping, hoping and waiting, for an offseason invitation from the Seahawks’ star quarterback. Colby Parkinson wouldn’t go so far as to admit he was begging, but he did request a formal audience with Russell Wilson.
“I was pestering him,” Parkinson said with a smile. “I was ready to roll.”
The invitation to visit Wilson at the QB’s summer home in San Diego did finally come for Parkinson, and he said he expects the extra one-on-one time with Wilson to pay off for the Seahawks’ offense.
“That was hugely beneficial coming into camp and will definitely pay dividends this season,” Parkinson said.
Wilson, as has been his tradition the past few years, invited many of his teammates to his San Diego home for workouts this summer. Wilson called it a “minicamp” before the start of the NFL training camp.
That extra work in San Diego would seem to be of particular importance this summer as Wilson helped teammates get better acclimated to the new offense Shane Waldron is installing in his first season as Seattle’s offensive coordinator.
The time with Wilson was especially important for Parkinson, who missed all of training camp in 2020 and much of his rookie season while recovering from a broken bone in his foot.
A Southern California native, Parkinson went to San Diego twice this summer and said he got to know Wilson better, both on and off the field.
“It was huge,” Parkinson said. “Russ and I have gotten close over the past year, and it’s been awesome. We’re both fellow believers, and that’s something we’ve been able to bond over.
“It’s so great to be able to just spend that time together one on one and just slow down and talk through the routes and build that trust.”
Parkinson has been a can’t-miss player in Seahawks camp so far. That is, in part, because of his 6-foot-7 frame, but just as much because of his production during practices — he’s been a dependable target in the middle of the field for Wilson and backup QB Geno Smith.
Wilson this week praised Parkinson for his “exceptional” play in camp so far.
“It’s such a blessing to be healthy this time of year,” Parkinson said. “Obviously being hurt this time last year, not be able to participate, I’m just thankful to be out here now. I’m excited to compete and try to earn a spot in this offense.”
After a so-so season from their tight ends last year, the Seahawks see that position as a strength this year, with Parkinson and Will Dissly expected to be steady contributors behind veteran newcomer Gerald Everett. All three took part in Wilson’s summer camp in San Diego.
“We really liked the position a lot,” coach Pete Carroll said early in camp. “We’re really fired up about Gerald Everett; we really think he can do a ton. But we’re not sure how to mix those guys yet. We’ve got to find that out as we go through (camp). Colby Parkinson looks exciting, too … and we know Will’s in there, so it’s really nice competitive spot.”
Parkinson, a fourth-round pick out of Stanford in 2020, put on about seven pounds this offseason and came into camp at 255. Coming out of college, Parkinson had a reputation as a receiving tight end, but his goal is to be a more consistent blocker.
“I’m trying to be an every-down type of tight end. I don’t want to be just a receiver or just a blocker. I want to do both,” he said. “And I think this offense definitely calls for that. We have a great opportunity as a tight-end room — we’ve got three great guys who can do a lot of different things in this offense.”