In 5th title game, Parker waits to drink to first win

After dry spell with Bills, Giant desires `champagne'

January 24, 2001|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

TAMPA, Fla. - Glenn Parker fancies himself as a wine connoisseur, having some 3,000 bottles in his collection. The veteran offensive guard is also something of a Super Bowl gourmet, having experienced the NFL's signature event four times as a member of the Buffalo Bills.

Only one problem.

Parker has never gotten to crack open the kind of wine synonymous with winning the last game of the NFL season during his 11-year career. That could change Sunday, when Parker, in his first season with the New York Giants, gets his fifth chance, this time against the Ravens at Raymond James Stadium.

"I just want to open some champagne," Parker said yesterday at media day for Super Bowl XXXV. "That's what I'm looking forward to."

It has been a long road back to the town where Parker was on the losing end of a devastating 20-19 defeat to the Giants a decade ago. Parker went to three more Super Bowls and never got any closer.

"I appreciate it more," said Parker, 34, who spent three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs after leaving the Bills in 1996 and signed with the Giants in March. "I'm having more fun with it. I don't think of it as a bother."

Parker's assignment is one of the more crucial for the Giants. You might even say it's the biggest, because he'll be going up against Tony Siragusa, the gargantuan defensive tackle and quarterback crusher and running-game stuffer for the Ravens. It'll be Parker's job to keep Siragusa away from Kerry Collins, while opening holes for Tiki Barber and Ron Dayne.

As for his matchup with Siragusa, 6 feet 3, 340 pounds, Parker said: "Don't rub up too much against him. Friction can cause grease fires."

Not that Parker, 6-5, 312, will be overmatched physically. In fact, the player that his teammates call "Fat Man" likes the comparison. "I look svelte next to him," Parker said.

Parker's image in the Giants' locker room is much like Siragusa's with the Ravens. Though he might be a little more erudite than Siragusa - at least in his culinary pursuits - Parker is as loose as "The Goose."

"He's a really smart guy," said veteran center Dusty Ziegler. "He has a lot of advice - just ask him. He has a lot of personality and is a great guy to have in the locker room."

That was part of the reason Giants coach Jim Fassel encouraged the front office to sign Parker and Lomas Brown in the off-season. Many of the players have attributed their team's turnaround from its 7-9 finish last season to Parker and Brown.

"They sort of brought us together," cornerback Jason Sehorn said.

Parker said his wife, Casey, wouldn't mind if he retired after Sunday's game in order to spend more time with her and their two daughters, Madeleine, 5, and Emily, 3.

Casey has recently gotten him to sell his beloved 1970 Plymouth Fury. "She wanted the space in the garage," he said.

Retiring is another matter. Parker said he expects to play another couple of years, but this could be his last shot at a Super Bowl ring. The four AFC championship rings are in a safe deposit box.

"A big fat loser's ring," he called the one from 10 years ago.

Someone mentioned how Parker has some full circle since his rookie season. It ended with Parker consoling Bills kicker Scott Norwood after the 47-yard attempt with four seconds left went wide right.

"I don't want to come full circle," he said. "Full circle will mean losing on a field goal with time running out."

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