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DAVIE, Fla. — Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker returned to practice Tuesday after missing four days due to a hamstring injury.
Parker, the 2015 first-round pick from Louisville who has tantalizing talent, has had an injury-marred career so far. His rookie season was shortened due to injury, his OTA/minicamp practices were shortened due to injury concerns, and training camp has followed the same pattern.
“It’s frustrating,” said Parker, who had 26 receptions for 494 yards and three touchdowns last season.
“You want to be out here with your teammates and be practicing and getting better with them but things like (injuries) happen so you just have to get back and get healthy.”
Parker has the type of game-breaking skills that could elevate Miami’s offense (19.4 points per game last season, 27th in the NFL) to a dangerous level.
Well, everyone suspects he has such skills. He flashed that type of talent last season, averaging 19.0 yards per reception, but Parker hasn’t been able to stay on the field. So no one really knows what he’s capable of doing over a 16-game season.
Regardless, Miami’s offense lacks electricity without Parker even though he doesn’t agree with that assessment.
“I think our offense looks good with or without me. We have all types of weapons – ‘Juice’ (Jarvis Landry), Kenny (Stills) and everybody else, and (tight end Jordan) Cameron and them,” Parker said.
“We still have a good offense with or without me. I’m just another reliable source and know that whenever I come back, (I can) help the team out.”
Now that Parker is healthy, the big concern in the Dolphins’ passing game shifts to him and quarterback Ryan Tannehill forming a familiarity.
Tannehill clearly favors Landry in drills, and that’s understandable considering Landry had 110 receptions for 1,157 yards and four touchdowns last season, becoming the first player in franchise history to have 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season.
But most likely Tannehill and Parker need to become a reliable tandem for this offense to become a playoff-caliber unit.
“It’s nice to have DeVante back,” Tannehill said. “(In) that two-minute drive, I threw the comeback to him, got him back in the huddle, and I said, ‘Man, it’s nice to have you back.’ It’s one of those things. He’s a good player. He stretches the field for us.
“You put him on one side, Kenny (Stills) on the other side, Jarvis (Landry) in the middle and we have three really dynamic playmakers. When you take (Parker) out of the equation, obviously it’s a little bit tougher. It’s nice to have him on the field. That’s where we want him.”