If he keeps playing as well as he has, Washington will discover many more people trying to contact him. The rookie receiver from Newberry College, a small liberal arts school in South Carolina, has arguably had the finest preseason of any NFL player. The Giants have played four games and Washington has recorded a touchdown pass in each of them – all in the fourth quarter, three of them game-winners.
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“I still can’t believe it right now,” Washington said. “A fourth touchdown right now in the preseason, yeah, it’s been fun, man. I’ve got to set the bar high coming out of a small school, but like I said, the expectation and goal is to be successful.”
Washington caught 95 passes and scored 22 touchdowns in two seasons at Newberry but wasn’t selected in this year’s NFL Draft. He was signed by the Arizona Cardinals as a free agent on May 13 – and was cut 15 days later. The Giants were awarded him off waivers and Washington has turned heads ever since.
After opening their regular season in Detroit, the Giants will host Arizona in Week 2. Washington is so psyched up to face the Cardinals, his biggest disappointment should he not make the final roster might be missing a chance to suit up that day.
“I’m ready for that game,” Washington said. “There’s a big chip on my shoulder, I’m ready for that game. I’ve got that game on the calendar, cell phone, iPad, everything.”
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- Preston Parker is another receiver who has been impressive throughout camp, though without the attention Washington has received. He is second on the team in receptions (eight) and yards (119) and he scored on a 39-yard pass from Ryan Nassib on Friday night against the Jets.
Parker also has four of the team’s five punt returns (for a 7.3-yard average) and four kickoff returns (21.3-yard average).
“It feels good that everything is coming together,” Parker said. “It just builds confidence in me and players and in the team and in the coaches. Once you get that, it’s just a rolling stone.”
Unlike Washington, Parker has NFL experience. He played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2010-12. In 2011, he played in all 16 games and caught 40 passes, three for touchdowns, and returned 23 punts. Parker was in training camp with the New Orleans Saints last year but was released on Aug. 31 and spent the year out of football.
“I had five interviews with five teams,” he said. “Nobody picked me up, but it was an opportunity to show that I’m still in shape. That’s what the coaches told me at the Saints, ‘Stay in shape, make sure you still work out.’”
Parker was asked if the Giants gave him an opportunity to resuscitate his career.
“Everybody out here is trying to resuscitate their careers,” he said. “That’s what we’re all trying to do. Just trying to continue and try to live life as a football player as long as we can.”
The Giants signed him to a reserve/future contract on Jan. 7 and since them it seems Parker has caught almost every pass thrown his way. But he isn’t certain if it’s enough to make the team.
“You never know,” he said. “It’s the NFL. You know how teams are. You know how everything is. You just keep going at it, try to perform and you let them make the decision at the end of the day.”