Cowboys star LB Parsons stokes Eagles rivalry a week early

Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills (10) throws a pass under pressure from Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Dallas linebacker Micah Parsons didn't wait until next week to get people talking about the Philadelphia rivalry again.

Yeah, the young star knows the Cowboys face Jacksonville and Trevor Lawrence on Sunday before the Eagles and Jalen Hurts on Christmas Eve.

Problem is, when Parsons appeared with Von Miller on “The Voncast,” the Cowboys' sacks leader asked rhetorically, “Is it Hurts or the team?” regarding Philadelphia's NFL-leading 12-1 record.

Miller said, “I think it’s a little bit of both, man,” to which Parsons replied, “It’s system and team!”

“I'm not trying to make no enemies,” Parsons told Miller. “I just love the game so much, that when things are off, I just can't hold it in. I've almost got to say something.”

Facing reporters Thursday, a day after the exchange with Miller garnered national attention, Parsons didn't try to wiggle out.

“I'm pretty sure they hate me,” Parsons said in response to the first question, about backlash from Eagles fans.

The most notable reply from the Philadelphia locker room made it clear the chatter was a week early.

The stakes when the NFC East-leading Eagles visit the Cowboys (10-3) will depend on the outcomes this weekend. Philadelphia won the first meeting at home, 26-17, in Week 6.

“I’m going to worry about the Chicago Bears this week, mate, worry about this game,” left tackle Jordan Mailata said. “Micah should worry about his game this week, too. We’ve got the Chicago Bears, not the Chicago Micah Parsons.”

Parsons doesn't disagree with one of the linemen he'll be trying to beat next week.

“I’ve got to focus on Trevor Lawrence,” Parsons said. “I was just having a good conversation with Von, a person I look up to, helped him on his podcast and the next thing I know ...”

Parsons drew laughs with the expletive that followed. The reigning AP Defensive Rookie of the Year also defended his comments, saying “We were just talking football.”

“Not once did I ever disrespect Hurts or any other player in any way,” Parsons said. “If football is a hurtful conversation, then what are we playing for?”

Parsons' comments weren't out of character. He hasn't been afraid to share opinions, and one of them is that defensive players should be a bigger part of MVP conversations.

If Parsons keeps up the sacks pace of his first two seasons (25 with four games remaining this season), the 23-year-old from Penn State could force his way into MVP talk one of these years. Just probably not this one.

“I asked, ‘Why is the quarterback the most valuable position when there are 22 jobs?’” Parsons said. “Now, is it the hardest position? You can argue it's probably one of the hardest positions, that and cornerback. You can argue, but I’m just bringing light to the defense.”

Dallas coach Mike McCarthy said he thought his defensive leader was just offering an opinion about MVP candidates in general, rather than targeting Hurts' chances.

“I'm not into locker room material,” McCarthy said Wednesday. “I've never seen a game won or lost on those type of things. I think it's great banter and energy that may last during warmups and maybe after the opening kick.”

Parsons got it started a week early for one of the NFL's best rivalries.


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