New Rams TE Colby Parkinson excited to return home

It was just a formality, but one that Colby Parkinson’s family could not miss.

As the free-agent tight end sat down at the Rams’ facility, putting pen to the new three-year contract he agreed to with his hometown team, Parkinson’s father and mother stood in front of the table. While his mother took pictures, his father held up his phone with Parkinson’s wife, Melanie, on FaceTime to witness the event virtually during the third trimester of her pregnancy.

After three years at Stanford and four with the Seattle Seahawks, Parkinson, the former Oaks Christian standout, is back in Los Angeles.

“My dad’s in the background throwing his hands up right now,” Parkinson said Thursday, beaming. “Just so excited and so thankful to come back home and be able to play in front of so many important people in my life, so many role models and … also to have an influence in the community.”

Parkinson wasted little time to jump at the opportunity to return to his hometown, agreeing to terms with the Rams less than three hours into the NFL’s legal tampering period Monday.

Beyond the sentimental appeal, Parkinson has watched the Rams from afar for his entire career. Having played with NFC West rival Seattle, Parkinson watched a lot of Rams tape over the years while preparing for common opponents.

“Just seeing the way that [head coach Sean McVay] and the staff can work up different designs to attack, not just one part of the field, but they’re working the seams, they’re working those deep ins,” Parkinson said. “They’re working the gap scheme a lot. The way they can do some different things with the single tight end, two tight end sets. It’s been fun to watch.”

Parkinson arrives to fill a need that appeared rapidly at the end of the season. Longtime starting tight end Tyler Higbee tore his ACL and MCL in the Rams’ playoff loss to the Detroit Lions. That injury required surgery, and the Rams expect to put Higbee on the physically unable to perform list when training camp rolls around.

With Brycen Hopkins also an unrestricted free agent, the Rams were left with several unproven options at the position, headlined by second-year player Davis Allen, who did well in his limited opportunities as a rookie, with nine receptions in the final five weeks of the regular season before making two catches against the Lions.

But Parkinson comes with four years of experience. He’s made 57 catches in his career for 618 yards and four touchdowns. But he’s made his living in run blocking situations and should use his 6-foot-7, 251-pound frame well alongside the Rams’ revamped offensive line.

His addition had Rams tight ends coach Nick Caley excited, who called Parkinson as soon as legally permitted Wednesday at the start of the NFL calendar year.

But not excited as his two parents, proudly holding up their phones as he signed his contract to return home.

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