What James Franklin said about how Dallas Cowboys’ Micah Parsons is growing on, off the field

There are few, if any, football players on the planet right now better than Micah Parsons. The current Dallas Cowboy and former Nittany Lion has three sacks through two games and is the clear front runner to be the NFL defensive player of the year.

But while Parsons is thriving on the field, his former head coach is more proud of what he’s done off it.

When asked about his former linebacker at Tuesday’s weekly press conference, James Franklin said that the growth he’s seen from him has been substantial. Franklin recruited Parsons for several years and now remains in touch with him, even having him speak to the team recently.

Here’s everything Franklin said about Parsons.

“Yeah, the first thing it does, it makes me think about I wish we had him for that third year rather than canceling the football season. But I’m proud of him. I’m really proud of him for a lot of different reasons. Football is one of them, but it’s a small one. He came and spoke to the team two weeks ago, I think, and just did a phenomenal job. He talked about the game, but talked specifically about Penn State and this community. He sent me and (former Penn State defensive coordinator) Brent (Pry) kind of out of nowhere the other day a beautiful, heartfelt, thoughtful message.

“I think there was a stat that went out the other day, I think he’s in the top 10 all time sacks for the Dallas Cowboys in year two or whatever it is. But he gets very little credit for graduating from Penn State in three years. I see on social media how frugal he is. I love that. I used to show the guys videos of (former NFL wide receiver Chad) Ochocinco, one of the most brilliant things ever is he wore fake jewelry the entire time he was in the NFL. Why? Because when you’re in the NFL, you wear fake jewelry, everybody assumes it’s real, and he’s not wasting money on things that don’t really matter. I worry about that a little bit in today’s day and age.

“I’m a supporter of NIL, very much so, but I also worry that it sets up unrealistic expectations of how hard it is to earn a dollar. A lot of times when you’re the head football coach and you talk about things like that, people don’t want to hear it from me and people in my position. But I worry about that. I hear stories about our guys wasting money on haircuts or turning down NIL opportunities that they don’t think pay enough. I worry about it. I worry about unrealistic expectations of how hard it is to earn a dollar in our country and in our world now. I want our guys to appreciate that.

“I think Micah’s a great example because I think part of our responsibility as college football coaches that I take very serious is that when our guys leave here that they’re equipped and ready to take care of themselves and their families for the next 40 years. I think NIL can be a positive in teaching them lessons about how to manage your money. I think Micah is a great example of that. He’s got more money than most people will ever dream of, but he’s complaining about how much a haircut costs on social media. I’m super proud of him.

“I’m super proud of the young man that we recruited really from ninth grade, that took us on a roller coaster ride during his recruiting process. We had some tough love when he was here. And he looks back at all this stuff with such appreciation now. He’s always been super thoughtful. I loved how he embraced the whole Penn State experience. You would not find a bigger supporter of our wrestling program because he loved how competitive they were, what (Penn State wrestling coach) Cael (Sanderson) has built here. He worked out with those guys. I don’t know if you guys know this, but he’s passionate bowler, believes that he can be a professional bowler. Loves to play chess. I’m proud of him. He’s growing up to be a really well-rounded individual. Although he’s having a ridiculous amount of success when it comes to football, I think that’s going to be just a small part of Micah’s story. I’m very proud of him.”