If Byron Parker is serious about coming out of retirement to rejoin the Toronto Argonauts, he might want to let Jim Barker in on it.
The Argos GM said Thursday no one was more surprised than him with word that Parker was returning to the CFL club after hanging up his cleats in 2014.
"First I heard about that was (Wednesday), somebody texted me," Barker said from Arizona. "That was news to me.
"I've not worked him out. Obviously he has experience but age does terrible things to our bodies when it comes to playing football."
Parker, 34, began the intrigue Jan. 1 when he tweeted, "What up!!!I'm back!"
The following day, the nine-year CFL veteran returned to Twitter with, "I'm coming out of retirement. I'm back like M-J wearing the 4-5."
That prompted a response from Toronto slotback Chad Owens, also a former teammate, who tweeted, "@byronparker28 coming outta retirement bro? Lol Happy New Year to you and the fam!"
Parker then shot back with, "@ChadOwens2 yeah, I got a call to come back to play with you."
In his prime, the five-foot-11 193-pound Parker was one of the CFL's top shutdown cornerbacks. He remains the league leader in career interceptions returned for touchdowns with nine.
The athletic Parker, who was a former NCAA dunk champion while at Tulane, played seven of his nine seasons in Canada with the Argos ('05, 2006-'08, '09, 2010-'11) and was especially effective in co-ordinator Rich Stubler's defence (2003-'08). In 2006, Parker set a CFL record for most interception return yards in a season with 348.
After spending the last two years with Calgary, Stubler returned this off-season as Toronto's defensive co-ordinator, adding more fuel to the speculation regarding Parker's potential return to the club. Parker retired an Argo in 2014, signing a one-day contract with the franchise after being released by the Montreal Alouettes.
Parker also played for the Edmonton Eskimos (2009) and B.C. Lions (2012). He also spent time in the NFL with Jacksonville, Dallas, and Philadelphia.
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press