Parrish unhappy with benching

Updated: October 22, 2009, 5:49 PM ET
Associated Press

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- First, Roscoe Parrish couldn't persuade the Buffalo Bills to trade him. Now, the NFL's leading punt returner has more reason to be unhappy because he can't even get on the field.

Careful in saying he didn't want to "bad-mouth" coach Dick Jauron after practice Thursday, Parrish questioned the team's decision to strip him of his punt-returning duties by leaving him inactive against the Jets last weekend.

"I'm frustrated, very frustrated," Parrish said. "To be honest with you -- not to bad-mouth nobody, not to bad-mouth Jauron, you know -- my resume speaks for itself."

Parrish was referring to the numbers he's put up since taking over the return duties midway through his rookie season in 2005. In that time, Parrish tops the NFL career list by averaging 13.1 yards on punt returns, has the franchise record with 1,385 return yards and has also scored three touchdowns.

"When you see my resume, and you see me not returning punts, it's kind of like 'Wow, what is going on?'" Parish said. "You know what I mean?"

Backup running back Fred Jackson has taken over the duties and is expect to keep them as Buffalo (2-4) prepares to play at Carolina (2-3) this weekend.

The benching is the latest blow for Parrish, who was already unhappy with his decreasing role as a wide receiver. He dropped to fourth on the depth chart after the Bills signed Terrell Owens in March.

Parrish, who has two years left on his contract, had asked for a trade this offseason. The chances of that happening ended Tuesday, when the NFL trading deadline passed.

"It's been a frustrating offseason. It's been frustrating during the season," Parrish said.

As difficult as it's been, he said, he's staying positive and will assist Jackson if he can.

Parrish's demotion came a week after he struggled returning punts in a 6-3 loss to the Cleveland Browns. He muffed a rolling punt, which led to the Browns scoring the decisive field goal in the final minute.

Parrish was also faulted earlier in the game. Fielding a punt at his own 42 and with his path blocked up the right sideline, Parrish reversed course and wound up losing 15 yards.

Jauron said the decision to bench Parrish was made in order to get Jackson more involved now that he's playing a secondary role behind starter Marshawn Lynch, who missed the first three games while serving an NFL-imposed suspension. Another reason, Jauron said, was his decision to activate second-year receiver Steve Johnson, a decision that left Parrish the odd-player out.

"Both Roscoe and Freddie are terrific returners. We didn't feel like we were losing much quite frankly," Jauron said.

Jauron refused to say whether he's lost confidence in Parrish, but acknowledged the player might be trying too hard. He has 12 returns for 73 yards and has fumbled twice this season.

Parrish said he's received no explanation as to why he's been demoted, and didn't find out about it until he looked at the team's depth chart prior to the Jets game. He hopes it isn't because of what happened against the Browns.

"I made a bad decision in the Cleveland game. But every guy makes mistakes," Parrish said. "If Dick Jauron feels like Fred's the guy to be back there, he's the head coach. So I can't say much about that but just keep working and hopefully in the future -- if it's not here then on another team -- I'll get my opportunity."

Notes

Starting QB Trent Edwards missed his second straight practice since sustaining a concussion against the Jets. Without providing details, Jauron said Edwards met with team doctors and is feeling better. ... Third-string RB Xavier Omon was added to the Bills injury report after he missed practice due to an illness. ... CB Terrence McGee returned to practice after missing Wednesday's session with a knee injury.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press