How Cody Parkey persevered to take Browns kicker job into offseason

If there's a turning point in Cody Parkey's emergence as the Browns kicker, it might've come when he needed it the most.

Parkey, whom Cleveland signed some 24 hours earlier in what all parties described as a whirlwind of sorts, was asked to kick six field goals in his debut against Miami back in September.

It didn't go as well as Parkey had hoped: He missed three of them, including the potential game-winner in an overtime loss to the Dolphins. But neither the Browns nor head coach Hue Jackson would point fingers.

"I remember Hue coming up to me specifically during the Miami game and telling me, 'Hey, you're doing a hell of a job regardless of the circumstance. This is as hard as it gets and we're with you 100 percent,'" Parkey said.

"And that really hit home with me because most coaches wouldn't go out of their way to do that. So for him to do that, I knew I just had to continue to grow and I knew once I got the reps with (long snapper) Charley (Hughlett) and (punter/holder) Britton (Colquitt) that I would be fine."

Indeed, Parkey finished 20-of-25 for the season and made 20 of his final 22 kicks.

And because of that, the former Philadelphia Eagle and 2014 Pro Bowler has earned the right to be Cleveland's kicker going forward.

"There was a stretch there where he didn't do as well, but he has been very steady in my opinion. Obviously, like you said, he came in under a lot of intense pressure and handled that well, came back and was outstanding," Jackson said earlier this month.

"Had a little dip, which we all know that happens, but I think he has rebounded well. He has done well. Is he going to be and are we anointing him the guy? Right now he is until we find somebody else who can compete, but right now, he has done a good job. He deserves the opportunity to be here and be a part of our future."

Parkey also drove home eight kicks from 40-plus yards and went 12-of-12 on anything less than 39 yards. In the process, he developed chemistry with Colquitt and Hughlett, something special teams Chris Tabor took note of toward the end of the season.

"When you get a new kicker, one of the first things he said is, 'Wow, our snapper and holder are really good.' I said, 'Yeah, go to work,'" Tabor said. "All of those things and they work well together. I have been pleased with them and hope they continue to get better."

Parkey's debut in South Florida was the first time he'd gotten to work with Hughlett, Colquitt and the Browns' special teams. His first kicks as a member of Cleveland's roster came during warmups.

Now — with that bumpy debut further and further in the past — he figures to fit into the Browns' future.

"You're gonna miss, it's how you bounce back," Parkey said. "I think that's a testament to this season."

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